Thursday, March 22, 2012

PCBS: Palestinian Territory Suffers Water Scarcity

Palestine News & Info Agency - WAFA 
RAMALLAH, March 22, 2012 (WAFA) – The Palestinian Territory suffers from water scarcity due to limited water resources, which affects all the vital sectors, especially agriculture, which is essential to ensure food self-sufficiency, said a press release by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) on Thursday.
It stated, marking World Water Day, that around 220 liters of water are available daily per capita in the Palestinian Territory, which means that each Palestinian needs nine times the current amount of water in order to produce their daily food.
According to the press release, the Israeli actions of ongoing siege and closure of Palestinian cities, burning or confiscation of lands, stealing of agricultural crops, expansion of settlements and expulsion of farmers from their own lands, plus stealing the water to re-sell it back at high prices that farmers cannot afford to use for agriculture, have severely affected food production.
It said that water resources in the Palestinian Territory consist only of springs and ground water wells.
The amount of water discharged from springs in 2010 was 26.8 million cubic meters, while 244 million cubic meters of water was pumped from ground water wells and water purchased from the Israeli Water Company (Mekorot) totaled  60.3 million cubic meters, of which 4.3 million cubic meters were for agricultural use, it said.
Rain-fed cultivated areas form 80.0% of the total cultivated area of Palestinian cultivation due to the limited water supply, while irrigated farming forms 19.6%.
Agriculture, forestry and fishing represent 5.5% of Palestinian GDP and provide employment to about 11.8% of the total labor force.