About 95 percent of ground water in the Gaza Strip is contaminated with different pollutants posing a serious threat to the health of residents of the seaside territory.
And Israel continues to aggravate the problem by dumping part of its waste water in the Gaza valley.
A report issued by the Palestinian Water Authority along with the UN Environment Program and Gaza’s Coastal Municipality Water Utility has shed light on the gravity of the crisis.
Israel has made it extremely difficult for equipment and materials needed for the water and wastewater-treatment systems to enter the Gaza Strip since it tightened its siege of the territory in 2007.
The damage done to the wastewater-treatment facilities in Gaza City during the 22-day war made some raw sewage find its way into the ground water sources.
Human rights groups say that Israel is infringing on the rights of Gazans by refusing to allow badly needed equipment for the water sector.
Most Gazans buy filtered water from water distributors because nitrate levels in water pumped from wells are six times higher than those recommended by the World Health Organization.
High level of nitrates in drinking water can cause anemia among children and blue infants syndrome among infants, which in some cases may lead to choking and death.
Gaza’s Coastal Aquifer yields more than 500 million cubic meters of water , of which a little over a tenth is allocated to Gaza residents , and the rest is taken by Israel.
Also according to the UN Environmental Program years of drought and the digging of hundreds of illegal, unregulated wells have made it impossible for ground water sources to replenish themselves.
It has warned that damage to the underground aquifer, due to the blockade, war and years of overuse and underinvestment, could take centuries to reverse if it is not immediately halted.
Experts warn that the lack of equipment to treat wastewater and the damage being inflicted on Gaza water resources by Israel will increase the severity of the water crisis in the strip.