Palestine faces issues of poor water quality and scarcity. Every Drop Matter's activities focused on both issues within Palestine.
Discharging untreated wastewater into channels running through farmland is causing serious environmental problems in Palestine, especially when this water is used to irrigate crops. Over the last 50 years, an untreated wastewater stream near Hebron city with a total length of 44 km – passing through 18 Palestinian communities – has polluted 685 hectares of agricultural land. The affected land is seriously polluted with chromium (a cancer causing heavy metal) levels in the soil five times higher than the safe limit. This devastates the surrounding environment, and makes it unsuitable for people to live in. Furthermore, the stream has had a drastic effect on the economy by destroying huge areas of cropland and grazing land. The EDM project introduced a solution that is both safe and economically sustainable: it planted groves of eucalyptus trees so that the untreated wastewater can be used to produce wood instead of food. It also made all data publicly available for similar projects, academics, and decision makers, both raising awareness and enabling scaling up in other communities.
- Successfully demonstrated a safe and sustainable solution to lessen impacts of wastewater intrusion on agricultural land in Palestine
- Planted 4,000 eucalyptus seedlings along a 4-km-long section of the stream which is home to four Palestinian communities
- Engaged local farming communities on timber tree planting as a safe alternative crop through field meetings, training sessions and lectures
- Raised awareness of decision makers on this efficient and safe use of a wastewater and built the capacity of farmers and Ministry of Agriculture agronomists
- Alerted communities to the risks of using untreated wastewater in fruit and crop production
Title: Use of Wadi Al-Samin wastewater stream in producing woody plants
Implementation period: 2011-2012
Implementing agency: Land Research Center
Location: Dura, Rabud and Karma
Budget: 46,670 USD (EDM: 35,000 / Co-financing: 11,670)
Many people in Ramallah, Palestine depend on local springs to meet their water needs and face dangers of being exposed to contaminants from untreated and improperly disposed wastewater. Where centralized waste water treatment facilities are too costly to build and operate, decentralized systems can provide viable alternative solutions. They can also provide solutions to improve water use efficiency by utilizing safe greywater for irrigation. The EDM projected demonstrated the use of such a decentralized greywater treatment facility at the Deir Ammar Club in Ramallah, which sought to serve a local community of 500 people and also provide a model to serve as a catalyst for similar projects in the country.
- Demonstrated a greywater treatment system, benefiting the 516 club members and also users of the club garden.
- Reduced contaminant levels in greywater, proving the effectiveness of the treatment system and leading to immediate cost reductions.
- Provided additional water source from treated grey water to irrigate the club garden, reducing the cost of accessing water from other sources.
- Built capacity in local staff on operation and maintenance training to ensure the long-term use of the system.
Title: Construction of onsite grey wastewater treatment plant at Deir Ammar Club
Implementation period: 2011-2012
Implementing agency: House of Water and Environment
Location: West Bank, Ramallah
Budget: 111,000 USD (EDM: 40,000 / Co-financing: 70,000)
Like many villages in Palestine, the existing storage, distribution and treatment systems in Kherbet Biet Skaria are unable to provide a reliable and safe supply of water. Nearly one of every three villagers in the area must buy water from neighboring settlements, often at unreasonable prices. Inadequate water treatment increases the spread of water-borne diseases, posing serious health risks to children and the elderly. This project rehabilitated five cisterns and constructed nine storage tanks resulting in improved local access to drinking water, rainwater collection and overall water storage capacity throughout the village. Nine wastewater treatment systems with direct piped connections to each household were built to separate black- and greywater. The greywater is now safely used to irrigate home gardens. With a more regular local supply, an average family saves time and money collecting and buying water from outside and is able to produce up to 25 kilograms more fruit and vegetables each year.
- Constructed nine polythene storage tanks and nine decentralized treatment systems
- Rehabilitated five cisterns for local drinking water supply
- Increased local water storage capacity by 600 m3 per year
- Created 12 new home gardens and trained 45 farmers to maintain them
- Spread learning with national authorities and international community through workshops with UNDP, Palestinian Farmers Union and the Ministry of Agriculture
Title: Improving the livelihood conditions (water and sanitation) of Beit Skarya Village
Implementation period: 2012-2013
Implementing agency: Agricultural Development Organization (PARC)
Location: Beit Skarya Village
Budget: 88,847 USD (EDM: 71,580 / Co-financing: 17,267)
The village of Dura al-Qar’, Ramallah and al-Bireh Governate have very scarce water resources. Each person has only 28 litres available per day, a number well below the minimum volume suggested by the World Health Organization. Though connected to a piped water network, service is often disrupted and infrastructure is poorly maintained. Springs located around the village are used as an additional water source, but they are also poorly maintained and can pose health risks. With nearly 3 in 5 people in the communities dependent on rain-fed agriculture, making the village highly vulnerable to climate change that will likely lead to increasing droughts and lower total rainfall. The EDM project supported local communities to protect natural spring resources and develop management strategies to reduce distribution losses between water sources and farm locations. It also worked to improve farm water efficiency by introducing drip irrigation technologies, and make access to springs safer for those collecting water for household purposes. Through the installation of a new supply line, from the spring to agricultural land, water use efficiency increased 40%, leading to a water saving of over 9 000 m3 per year. This has provided new opportunities to farmers to grow alternative, more profitable crops, such as strawberries and leafy vegetables.
- Developed water collection points at springs with paving for access and sun canopies installed
- Installed 1,400 m of supply lines from spring sites to farm land to reduce water losses during transportation
- Connected drip irrigation systems to the supply line, covering a one-and-a-half-hectare demonstration plot
- Provided training to farmers on modern farming and irrigation systems, water use efficiency, organic farming and climate adaptation strategies
- Increased local water use efficiency has increased by 40 %, and a total water saving of over 9,000 m3 per year
- Built pathways and shaded sitting areas at local springs to reduce strain and provide public spaces for social
Title: Efficient water resource management to reduce the impacts of climate change
Implementation period: 2014
Implementing agency: Palestinian Hydrology Group for Water and Environmental Resources Development
Location: Ramallah and al-Bireh Governate
Budget: 70,000 USD (EDM: 70,000)
Auja spring is a typical example of one of the West Bank’s many springs. The canal that transports the water to its users is filled with debris, cracked, poorly maintained and inappropriately used for washing livestock. As a result, 25–35 % of the transported water is lost along its transit, and downstream users are affected by contamination caused by livestock. The EDM project worked to rehabilitate the Auja canal, improving the quality of water delivered to 1 200 people and reducing unnecessary losses by an estimated 3 million m3 of water per year. With the water savings achieved by reducing leakage improved production in irrigated agriculture should be possible. The project further serves as an effective demonstration site to other communities, so that they understand the value of maintaining and restoring the 297 springs of Palestine. Many springs in the region face similar needs for restoration and pollution reduction measures that could learn from and replicate the results achieved in Auja.
- Cleaned Auja spring water outlet and restored of the 1.9 km of the canal, leading to an estimated reduction of 3 million m3 of water losses per year
- Constructed five drinking troughs and five wash basins for livestock
- Provided 1,200 community members with improved quantity and quality of water supply
- Trained local farmers and Bedouin community members on safe water use and effective water treatment
Title: Rehabilitation of Auja Spring
Implementation period: 2015
Implementing agency: Palestinian Wastewater Engineering Group
Budget: 98,102 USD (EDM: 89,902 / Co-financing: 8,200)
Partners and contributors
Land Research Centre • House of Water and Environment • Agricultural Development Organization • Palestinian Hydrology Group for Water and Environmental Resources Development • Palestinian Wastewater Engineering Group • UNDP Palestine