World Water Day
World Water Day Isn’t Just Once a Year at Anera
Securing access to clean, drinkable water for all is one of the most critical priorities in communities affected by war and displacement. This achievement can’t come in the form of a handout or temporary solution — to make meaningful change, it must involve sustainable, long-term infrastructure building.
World Water Day is just once every 12 months, but it comes with a message that’s vital year-round — water as a fundamental human right, a building block of communities and a key component of public health.
At Anera, these are values that inform our work in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. As a donor, you’re supporting efforts to bring water to all — an important project that’s changing lives in a region heavily affected by conflict and insecurity. Let’s expand on the need for clean water in these communities and highlight some of the important projects your gifts are funding.
For World Water Day 2020
This is some of our recent work that addresses water scarcity in Palestine.
Rehabilitating a water well
In 2019 Jabalia’s water situation improved when Anera carried out a major rehabilitation project to improve the performance and capacity of Jabalia’s well. Now the well produces a higher volume of clean water and it efficiently serves more than 20,000 residents.
Installing desalination units on buildings
The ongoing water crisis in Gaza is alarming. Tap water is too salty and contaminated for human consumption. The salinity of the water also creates problems for medical facilities. Anera installed desalination units at two major health care centers in Gaza. Now, patients can drink the water from the tap and medical practitioners can use it freely in their work.
Hydroponic cultivation can grow a variety of fruits and vegetables at a very low cost and with very little water – only 10 to 20 percent needed in traditional systems. Gaza, with its terrible water scarcity, is in dire need of hydroponic agriculture. Anera has piloted an educational hydroponic unit with a women’s cooperative in Gaza and we are replicating it for individual families.
Water is precious and scarce in the arid West Bank, but Palestinian municipalities discard wastewater every day, often paying a fee to Israel to do so. Anera has found a way to save and reuse wastewater on a major scale. In Ramallah, a city of 40,000, the municipality can now make use of 79,000 gallons of wastewater a day for fire-fighting and irrigating parks.
Sean Carroll, Anera’s president, visited the wastewater reservoir and issued this video report:
What Is World Water Day?
World Water Day is an international day of observance commemorating the importance of clean, sustainable freshwater. First celebrated in 1993, it’s held each year on March 22. As climate change and growing inequality imperil access to resources of all kinds, remembering the importance of universal access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is essential from a policymaking and development standpoint.
The United Nations proposed World Water Day in its 1992 Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. Each year brings a new theme. This year, the theme is ‘Nature and Climate Change,’ drawing attention to the impact of climate change on water issues. Previous themes have included:
- Leaving No One Behind (2019)
- Nature for Water (2018)
- Why Waste Water? (2017)
- Better Water, Better Jobs (2016)
- Water and Sustainable Development (2015)
In recent years, each theme has reflected an aspect of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 — to “ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”
What Is the Importance of World Water Day for Development?
Water insecurity can affect communities in even the most economically advantaged countries. However, the issue is especially severe in areas like Gaza:
- Only 10% of Gaza residents have access to safe water drinking water.
- A third of the income for Gaza residents goes to purchasing drinking water.
- Over 95% of the drinking water in Gaza is unfit for human consumption.
- Over 25% of the disease in Gaza is related to unsafe drinking water.
- Over 90% of households in the country have a tap that clean water used to flow from.
These conditions contribute to a wide range of public health issues, from endemic infectious diseases to higher child and maternal mortality rates. Often, it’s the most vulnerable members of a population who suffer the most.
Anera and Water
Addressing water issues is one of the first steps in building healthier communities. In the Middle East, where climate change, drought, waste and population growth contribute to chronic water shortages, careful management and modern infrastructure are essential. Working with local engineers and community leaders, Anera has funded and managed projects that have improved access to clean water and modernized irrigation and wastewater systems.
World Water Day is an excellent opportunity to support organizations providing on-the-ground assistance in vulnerable parts of the world. Read on to learn how your contributions are helping us improve health and sanitation in Gaza and beyond.
Our Work in Gaza and the West Bank
Over the course of the last three years, Anera has distributed hygiene kits to 8,921 families across Gaza and conducted 300 water and sanitation hygiene sessions. Over the full past decade, even more has been done. In that time, Anera connected nearly 400,000 Gazans to reliable, safe water and/or sewage networks.
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