Water officials in Gaza: 40% of the population with no access to running water

Estimated damages to water infrastructure in Gaza running at $33 million. Photo: Karl Schembry

Estimated damages to water infrastructure in Gaza running at $33 million. Photo: Karl Schembri

August 20, 2014. The Gaza Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) reported that 40% of the population does not have access to running water. The rest of the population receives running water every 3-4 days on average. Those residing in UNRWA shelters rely on water that is tanked in by CMWU.

Access to running water improved over the last week due to repairs that were made to the network as well as improvements in availability of electricity supply. Electricity is needed to pump water to homes.

CMWU estimated that the cost to repair damage to water and sewage infrastructure in Gaza runs upwards of $33 million. During the military operation, 63 water facilities were damaged, among them 23 that were completely destroyed. The network also suffered damage, including pipelines in cities as well as main lines transporting water and carrying away sewage between cities.

The sole power station in Gaza was also damaged by airstrikes on two occasions and has been completely shut down since its fuel tanks and one turbine were hit on July 29. Technicians at the plant estimated that repairs would cost $10 million. If materials were allowed in in a timely manner, repairs could be done in a few months to the fuel tanks and thus restore power to two turbines that were not damaged.


Rafah Crossing was open this morning for exit of casualties, medical emergencies, and Palestinians holding foreign passports, residency status and visas. According to Palestinian sources, at around 9am, an airstrike took place just meters from the terminal hall. Some people were slightly injured but the crossing continued to operate. The Palestinian Crossings Authority notified that it would close the crossing if it didn’t receive assurances that the crossing would not be targeted again and the Gaza-based Palestinian Interior Ministry cautioned residents that travel to the area was dangerous due to the security situation.

Erez Crossing continued to operate according to a restricted format for transit of medical patients and their companions as well as foreign citizens. Yesterday 105 individuals transited out of Gaza, including 41 medical patients and 37 companions as well as five other medical emergencies via ambulance.