Water & Sanitation Infrastructure in Gaza

Clearing Sewage from streets in Gaza
Emergency water and sanitation project to protect the health and local water supply of the Al Mugraqa community in Gaza

Gaza is a tiny, resource-poor region of 360 square kilometres with a population of over 1.5 million, and a high growth rate. It is encircled on the west by the Mediterranean Sea, south by Egypt and north and east by Israel which controls all access of goods and movement of people. Gaza has been suffering from a blockade on goods (imports and exports) since 2006 and frequent military incursions. The blockade threatens access to basic life resources such as food, medicines and fuel

A shallow underground coastal aquifer is the only source of fresh water for Gaza. There has been deterioration in the quality of available water due to the contamination of water supply lines and wells by wastewater, and also due to the depletion of underground wells from over pumping and the incursion of sea water.  The aquifer is at risk of irreversible damage unless protected.

With support from ECHO, Welfare Association implemented a water and sanitation project with Al Mugraqa municipality. Al Mugraqa is in the middle of Gaza with approximately 12,000 inhabitants.

Sewage visible above groundSewage visible above ground
Prior to this project a sewage network had been laid in most parts of Al-Mugraqa with donor support but it was not working as it still needed a pumping station to transport the sewage to the Wadi Gaza drainage area. There was no sewerage system for 400 households of the Abu Hurira area of Al-Mugraqa, they relied on cesspits which need to be emptied by a vacuum truck each week – with a weekly charge. The soil in the area is sandy soil and with leakage and overflowing cesspits there was significant deterioration of the ground aquifer as sewage seeped through and increased the risk of contaminated water spreading infections and illness.

This project constructed the pumping station and completed the installation of the sewage network for 400 homes.

Preparation for the pumping station construction 3Preparation for the pumping station construction
It was a key project activity for the whole of Al Mugraqa and the installation of the additional neighbourhood network directly served the Abu Hurira neighbourhood (4,000 inhabitants). It provided a closed sewerage system reducing the problem of the deteriorating quality of the underground water aquifer, providing a safe sewage network and the residents were no longer reliant on the vacuum truck and they no longer needed to pay the weekly charge (which was a serious issue as with rising unemployment increasing numbers could not afford to pay for this service).

This project required several extensions as there were severe difficulties in sourcing construction materials into Gaza and final difficulties in getting the electrical components to make the pumping station operational into Gaza.

Construction completed Construction completed
Once completed, the project team confirmed everything was working and it has helped to provide protection for the environmental health of the whole Al-Mugraqa area (12,000 inhabitants) by removing sewage from the streets and helping to protect the underground aquifer.