Speaking at the inauguration of the Strip’s desalination plant, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said: “Natural water and resources have been greatly damaged after continuous years of conflict in Gaza, and as a result, 95 per cent of the water in Gaza is unfit for human use. Therefore, we are supporting this water purification plant to provide pure and clean water to more than 150,000 Palestinians.”
The plant was build using a €10 million EU grant and construction on it began in March 2014. The first stage is now complete and the plant should now be able to supply 6,000 cubic metres of desalinated water daily, the Palestinian news site Al-Quds reported. Tests on the system are expected to continue this summer.
Hahn said the EU is committed to supporting water sector with millions of Euros in order to help improve the enclave’s water sector.
He stressed that Gaza is in urgent need for affordable water supplies to keep up with the need of its 1.8 million inhabitants, many of whom live in poverty.
At the ceremony, Palestinian Authority Public Work and Housing Minister Mofeed Al-Hasayneh stressed on the importance of the European assistance. Deputy Chairman of the Palestinian Water Authority Rebhi Al-Sheikh said the plant would serve 75,000 people in the south of the Gaza Strip when it becomes operational.
The EU is to fund the second phase of the project, which is to double the capacity of the plant to enable it to serve 150,000 people.