Wastewater Treatment in West Bank
Agricultural development in the West Bank and Gaza is severely impacted by the scarcity of water. At a time when more Palestinians are relying on farming for their livelihood, only 10% of the cultivated area is irrigated. Depletion of natural water resources, coupled with restricted access to underground aquifers, has left the Palestinian agricultural sector in desperate need of non-conventional, alternative water supplies.
Most Palestinian communities in the West Bank suffer disruptions in the water supply during the dry summer months. Rain-fed agriculture is characterized by low productivity and low profitability. Farmers usually have to purchase additional water at a high cost in order to irrigate their fields. The agricultural sector consumes 45% of the total water available to Palestinians.
A wastewater treatment plant was completed at the end of 2013 in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, which will produce roughly 7,000 cubic meters per day of high quality reusable water, suitable for irrigating a variety of crops. With funding from the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) ANERA is using treated water from the plant to irrigate farmland. The program should provide roughly two million cubic meters annually of water that will irrigate 1,730 acres (3,000 dunums) of dry land owned by 240 households. The project will help increase production of much-needed fodder crops and other produce currently imported from Israel.
And, that in turn will help increase family incomes beyond the 240 farm families. The project will improve household incomes of approximately 12,000 villagers by increasing their access to cheaper locally grown fodder and other agriculture products.
ANERA’s program represents the first large-scale water recycling project in the Palestinian territories.
How it Works
The project is designed to increase the amount of available irrigation water and reduce reliance on scarce supplies of drinking water for agricultural purposes. It also increases the area of irrigated agricultural land from 123 acres (500 dunums) to 865 acres (3,500 dunums), thus increasing the agricultural income of 240 beneficiary farmers in northwest Jenin by approximately 40% over three years.
The project includes:
- construction of reservoirs,
- installation of network and water distribution systems,
- testing of new crop varieties,
- testing of soil and produce.
Farmers and farmer associations participating in the program also will benefit from capacity-building and agriculture training sessions.