Frontlines Online Edition
Water & Neglected Tropical Diseases
March/April 2013

"Water Is Life"

Beneficiaries of the USAID water project in Khan Younis, Gaza. Beneficiaries of the USAID water project in Khan Younis, Gaza. Rania El-Helou, ANERA

Approximately 70,000 Palestinians living in Khan Younis, a large city located in the southern part of Gaza, have suffered from severe water shortages for years. Sometimes days would pass with no water in their faucets as a result of the depletion of natural water resources in the area and the reliance on an overburdened and aging water transmission system. The summer months were particularly difficult—demand for water far outstripped supply. When the faucets went dry, too many families were faced with limited options: buying water from tanker trucks (for those who could afford the expense), making long treks to available water sources, or doing without.

Beneficiaries of the USAID water project in Khan Younis, Gaza.
Beneficiaries of the USAID water project in Khan Younis, Gaza.
Rania El-Helou, ANERA

In 2012, USAID constructed a $1.5 million water reservoir with a storage capacity of 5,000 cubic meters and renovated a pumping station and pipeline network to transfer water more efficiently. Today, as a result, the residents of Khan Younis turn on their taps when they need water for their daily activities. The water comes from several wells connected to the new water network. It is cleaner, fresher and considerably less expensive for Khan Younis families.

“Water is life. No words can describe the excitement of having water in my house!” said Wafaa Al-Agha, a Khan Younis resident.

Nadia Awad is a communications officer with American Near East Refugee Aid.

Last updated: April 16, 2014