Water is More Precious that Gold

September 30, 2009 ANERA
Economic Development, Water and Sanitation, West Bank
Ancient church in the Samaritan community on Mount Jerzim, near Nablus in the West Bank. Ancient church in the Samaritan community on Mount Jerzim, near Nablus in the West Bank.

An old and decrepit water system made life difficult for 735 Samaritans on Mount Jerzim outside of Nablus in the West Bank. For hundreds of years, the small religious group has been living on the site they consider the most sacred on earth. But, their peaceful life was disrupted by concerns over the deterioration of their drinking water.

“We had an old water network that was installed 25 years ago,” explained Samaritan committee member Abu Izhak. “It contaminated the water and created a lot of waste.”

That has all changed, he added, as he offered his grandson a drink from his milk bottle prepared with clean water from ANERA’s newly installed water network. Abu Izhak’s wife said everyone is grateful and relieved. “In the past my daughter-in-laws and I would turn on the water tap and brownish water would run out. It was not good for cooking, let alone drinking.”

A new water network in Mount Jerzim connects over 700 Samaritans to clean water.

Samaritan committee member Abed considers the water project the best service to his community, “The replacement of Mount Jerizim’s network not only brought us potable water, it also prevented water loss in an area where water is more precious than gold!”

ANERA’s work on the water system was funded by USAID. The $88,616 project also created 820 days of employment for Nablus workers.

Mount Gerizim resident Om Nael smiled as she hung her washed clothes to dry, “Look how white and clean they are! Now I don’t panic anymore when my grandchildren drink straight from the water tap.” Before the project, she would cover the taps with duct tape and only gave her grandchildren bottled water. “That was very expensive but we had no choice. Now we can just turn on the tap!”


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