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Published on March 10, 2008

Author: Dante

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Mountain Aquifer: Cradle to Grave Analysis :  Mountain Aquifer: Cradle to Grave Analysis Glenna Anton URBS/Geog 515: Race, Poverty & the Environment Professor Raquel Pinderhughes, Urban Studies & Environmental Studies Programs, San Francisco State University Spring 2004 Public has permission to use the material herein, but only if author, course, university, and professor are credited. This presentation focuses on water of the mountain aquifer in the West Bank.:  This presentation focuses on water of the mountain aquifer in the West Bank. Slide3:  Source: The United Nations University, 2004 The Mountain Aquifer Slide4:  This presentation is designed to follow the various stages that mountain aquifer water in the West Bank goes through, from its point of extraction to its disposal. It takes you through the cradle to grave lifecycle of mountain aquifer water, paying particular attention to the social, environmental and public health impacts of the processes associated with mountain aquifer water. Wadi Qelt and Ein Sultan, source: The Great Mirror, 2004 Slide5:  We start by looking at how water is extracted from the mountain aquifer. We then look at how it is distributed to areas for domestic, agricultural and industrial use. This is followed by an examination of the agricultural and industrial processes in which the water is used. Finally, we look at the distribution of mountain aquifer water after it has been used, to waste sites and waste processes it undergoes. Geography - land:  Geography - land “Geographic Palestine” (Israel-Palestine), is bordered by Lebanon in the North, Syria and Jordan in the East, Egypt in the South and the Mediterranean Sea in the West. Its full area amounts to a mere 27,024 (10,434 sq mi) square kilometers (Elmusa 1997: 17). Source: Frontline, 2003. Slide7:  In 1948 when control over geographic Palestine was transferred from Britain to the State of Israel, it was divided into Israel proper, the West Bank (5,545 sq km/ 2,141 sq mi) (Elmusa 1997). Source: Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ), 2004 and the Gaza Strip (365 sq km/ 141 sq mi). :  and the Gaza Strip (365 sq km/ 141 sq mi). Source: University of Texas Library Map Collection, 2004 Slide9:  Together, the West Bank and Gaza Strip constitute approximately 22% of geographic Palestine (Elmusa 1997). Source: Gush Shalom, 2004 Geography - Water:  Geography - Water Israel-Palestine is classified as “subropical scrubland, semidesert, and desert” (CSWSME 1999). Water scarcity is a severe problem in this hot, dry region. Northwestern Israel has a cooler and wetter Mediterranean climate and the south is a dry desert. Water scarcity is a severe problem in this hot, dry region. Source: The Great Mirror, West Bank Southern Countryside, 2004. Slide11:  Although the river basin itself is one hydrological unit, the area it encompasses, Israel, the Occupied Territories and Jordan is, economically, culturally and politically fragmented in many different ways. Source: United Nations Environment Programme, 2004 Slide12:  Since 1948, the water of the Jordan basin, has been a source of ongoing conflict between Israel and the Arab riparians. However, scarcity alone is not the cause of conflict over water. As you will see, the structure of control over the water supply - in this case the mountain aquifer - plays a crucial role in the conflict over water resources. Mountain Aquifer:  Mountain Aquifer The mountain aquifer is a renewable aquifer that is recharged by rainfall in the Mountains of the West Bank (B’Tselem 1998). It is one of the two main water sources in Israel-Palestine. The other main source is the Jordan River. Slide14:  The reason for the significance of the mountain aquifer is that it is the largest and highest quality source of water for both Israelis and Palestinians. It supplies Israelis with one-third of their water and almost all of water used by Palestinians in the West Bank comes from this aquifer (B’tselem 1998). Slide15:  The mountain aquifer system is made up of three different aquifers: 1. The western 2. The northeastern 3. The eastern (Elmusa 1997) Source: Palestininan Water Authority, 2004 Slide16:  Underneath the ground, the water of the mountain aquifer flows east and west into reservoirs. From these reservoirs, the water is extracted from wells (B’tselem 1998). Source: United Nations Environment Programme, 2004 Distribution & Control of Water:  Distribution & Control of Water As a result of the 1967 war between Israel and its Arab neighbors, Israel seized control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which had previously been under Jordanian and Egyptian authority respectively. Slide18:  The seizure of the West Bank gave Israel control over bulk of the water in the mountain aquifer. Through a series of abandoned property laws, implemented by numerous military orders, Israel seized control of an unknown number of Palestinian wells that had been used for irrigation (B’Tselem, 1998). “Abandoned property”, you must understand, could be land belonging to displaced refugees, fallow land, Palestinian communal or religious land, or even the land of people who have gone on vacation (Hassoun 1998). Impact of This History on Distribution Today:  Impact of This History on Distribution Today Today, Israel uses one-third of the water from the mountain aquifer, while the Palestinians rely almost entirely on the mountain aquifer for their water. This amounts to Israel using 80 to 200282% of mountain aquifer water, while Palestinians use 18 to 20% (Shiva 2002). The effect is that Palestinians have been forced to survive on the same amount of water since 1967, regardless of population growth (Shiva 2002). To provide context, the average Israeli uses four times as much water as the average Palestinian, and the average Israeli settler eight times as much (Seitz 2003). Slide20:  “…Israeli settlements [in the West Bank] have community swimming pools, flower gardens and broad expanses of green lawn. About 140 Palestinian communities meanwhile, have no running water at all” (Trounsan 1999). Source: The Great Mirror, West Bank Israeli Settlement Photo 19, 2004 Uneven Distribution :  Uneven Distribution West Bank Palestinians are using less than the natural water recharge on their land. Therefore, it will probably shock you to find out how dire the situation is in terms of Palestinian’s access to water. “…the average Palestinian per capita water use for domestic purposes reaches 30 m3/year…compared to 100 m3/year in Israel. Meanwhile, total per capita water use is estimated at 140 m3/year in Palestine compared to 580 m3/year in Israel…” --Palestinian Hydrology Group, 2004 Slide22:  Public Water Tap, Jenin Source: Palestinian Hydrology Group Slide24:  Palestinians today face innumerable barriers and restrictions in gaining access to water. 1. High price of up-to-date technical equipment to dig and pump wells. 2. Dependence on Israeli middle-men, who attach extra taxes and fees on technical equipment. 3. Palestinians must obtain permits from the Israeli government to drill wells. Restrictions on Drilling Wells:  Restrictions on Drilling Wells Imagine the frustration of having to “…pass eighteen stages of approval in various departments of the Civil Administration, Mekorot [Israel’s national water corporation], the Water Planning Authority, and the Ministry of Agriculture” (B’tselem 1998), just to obtain a permit that is most often denied. Slide26:  Of the 350 Palestinian wells in operation in the West Bank only twenty-three of them (6.5%), have been drilled since 1967. However, many wells no longer function because of problems accessing up-to-date drilling & pumping equipment and because Jewish settlements use of water from Israeli wells has caused Palestinian wells located near settlements to dry up. (B’tselem 1998) Source: John Reese, Palestinian Well, 2003 Drilling Restrictions:  Drilling Restrictions When Palestinians are able to obtain permits, the specified depth is often too shallow to produce significant amounts of water. In fact, “”…the more plentiful lower Cenomanian layer…” which also contains fresher water is most often “exploited for the benefit of Israeli settlers” (Elmusa 1997: 90). Overtime, overpumping of the lower layers of the aquifer have led to “…increased salinity in many Palestinian wells” (Elmusa 1997:90). A Case in Point:  A Case in Point The limits on Palestinian drilling have led to cases, such as the one in “…the Toubas area…” in which, according to the head of the Palestinian Water Authority, Fadl Qawash, “…there is only one well for 50,000 people, which produces not more than five litres per capita [daily]” (Qawash 2003, quoted in Setiz 2003: 23). Slide29:  Thus, it is only through artificially repressing Palestinian water consumption, by prohibiting Palestinians to drill wells on their soil, or limiting Palestinian wells to 140 meters in depth, while permitting Israelis to drill wells as deep as 800 meters (Shiva 2002) , that Israel can continue to live at its current standards, especially in the settlements, as I will demonstrate later. Slide30:  Let me reiterate: many Israeli settlements “…have community swimming pools, flower gardens and broad expanses of green lawn…” while “…about 140 Palestinian communities…have no running water at all” . During droughts it is not uncommon for Israel to cut water supply to the West Bank in order to meet its own needs. Slide31:  Source: above - Great Mirror, Israeli Settlement Photo 10; right - Tanks? No. Tanks!, Nablus, 2004 Zionism & Agriculture:  Zionism & Agriculture The State of Israel was established by early Zionists whose core belief was that Jews had a right to reclaim the land of Israel. Early Zionists brought with them a European view of progress that viewed the region as desolate and in need of development. Thus, they promoted self-sufficiency and a romantic view of agriculture as representing “the soul of Israel” (Berck & Lipow 1994). “Greening the Desert”:  “Greening the Desert” Requires heavy use of pesticides and fertilizers Requires transporting water from outside of the Jordan River Valley to drier areas in the south This has had dire consequences for the ecology of the region and for the Palestinians’ access to their fair share of the water Source: kibbutz Ortal, 2004 Cotton Farming in Israel:  Cotton Farming in Israel Cultivation of water greedy cotton crops in an arid environment is not very sensible. Although Israel uses treated wastewater for growing cotton, that water could be conserved and used for other purposes. Source: Beit Hashita Kibbutz, 2004 “Judaizing” the Land :  “Judaizing” the Land Zionist ideology (the Jewish right to the land of Israel) also involves establishing farmland in areas that are primarily Arab. The point is to undermine regional solidarity, thereby maintaining control over the water and land of these areas (Yiftachel1998). This, in addition to greening the desert, is why Israel continues to use the bulk of its water resources for agriculture even though it only makes up a small percentage of the GDP (Elmusa 1997). Institutionalized Zionism:  Institutionalized Zionism Today Israel’s water policies are guided by deeply entrenched Zionism in its institutionalized political framework. “The supreme authority for the formulation and implementation of water policy in Israel…is the Minister of Agriculture, who is responsible for setting norms and standards relating to water quotas, quality, price, supply and use” . (Menahem, 1998) Uses of Water:  Uses of Water Agriculture Although Israel is 92% urbanized, it uses 57% of its water for agriculture (CWSME, 1999) Israel’s subsidization of water for its agricultural sector makes little sense when we realize that agriculture accounts for <4% of the workforce and 3% of the GDP. (CWSME, 1999) Palestinian Agriculture:  Palestinian Agriculture Unlike Israel’s agricultural sector, Palestinian agriculture plays a larger role in economic life, justifying a larger allocation of water to agriculture. Agriculture constitutes approximately 33% of the GDP and a similar percentage of the workforce. Approximately 64% of water used by Palestinians in the West Bank is for agriculture (Elmusa 1997). Farmland - Jericho Valley:  Farmland - Jericho Valley Source: Palestinian Hydrology Group, 2004 Source: Palestinian Hydrology Group Slide40:  Before the Second Intifadha Palestinians benefited from Israel’s subsidization of agriculture. The reason is because the two economies are co-dependent. Thus, Palestinian farmers could sell their products at the same high prices as Israeli farmers to Israeli markets (Berck and Lipow, 1994). Military & Economic Reasons for Preeminent Role of Agriculture in Palestinian Society:  Military & Economic Reasons for Preeminent Role of Agriculture in Palestinian Society 1) Fear that Israelis will ‘starve’ Palestinians into submission. 2) Agriculture is one of the sectors in which Palestinians can exercise economic control and act as entrepreneurs. Industrial development has been hampered by political uncertainty and by policies pursued by Israeli administrators. 3) ... few Palestinians hold a formal title to the land or water they use…land that is not actively tilled and water that is not consumed can be subject to expropriation. (Berck & Lipow 1994) Contaminated Wells:  Contaminated Wells Since the late 1970s, Palestinian farmers have increasingly adopted modern technological farming methods (Elmusa 1995). Today pesticides make up almost 40% of the budget of local farmers. These pesticides invariably accumulate in aquifers. Once this happens, it is very difficult to reverse. They usually purchase these pesticides, fertilizers and other agricultural inputs from Israeli suppliers who attach extra taxes and fees (Bizreit University). Pesticide Use in Jericho:  Pesticide Use in Jericho Source: Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ) Suppliers Are Guilty of Neglect!:  Suppliers Are Guilty of Neglect! The irresponsibility of the pesticide suppliers is evidenced by the lack of instruction they offer to farmers who, according to Sansur, "really have no knowledge of what they are dealing with." This, coupled with the fact that labeling is often in Hebrew, has led many into a mentality that, "if one drop per litre of water is good, ten drops is better (Bizreit University) Many of these pesticides have been banned in industrialized nations, including Israel. Health Impacts from Water Contamination:  Health Impacts from Water Contamination Ma’an Development Centre found that a large percentage of the most dangerous pesticides in the West Bank and Gaza caused “cancer (blood cancer, lungs cancer, lymphatic, brain cancer, bone cancer) in addition to neurotic diseases and other mal-figurations and miscarriages” http://www.maan-ctr.org/WhatsNew/index.html Slide46:  What is clear is that the disproportional amount of water allocated to agriculture in the region makes little economic or geographic sense. Palestinian Industry:  Palestinian Industry The Palestinian economy is de-industrialized. Israel’s control over borders and roads as well as the numerous checkpoints and Israeli settlements that dot the West Bank create a non-contiguous Palestinian territory. Not only does Israel’s policy steadily diminish land that belongs to, but it also prevents smooth circulation of commodities, access to markets and it cuts Palestinians off from developing economic relationships with any other state besides Israel (Hanieh 2002). Source: Palestinian Hydrology Group Palestinian Bantustans in the West Bank:  Palestinian Bantustans in the West Bank These brown areas are the only areas under full Palestinian control X Areas of confrontation between Israeli forces and Palestinian demonstrators . Areas where the Palestinian Authority is only responsible for social and civil services Israeli settlements Nature reserves Source: Palestine Monitor Economic Dependency :  Economic Dependency The purpose of this policy is to make the Palestinian economy “completely integrated into and dependent on the Israeli economy” through “…expropriating land in the West Bank and forcing Palestinians into…cantons” (Hanieh 2002: 39). Low-wage Workers :  Low-wage Workers This process is compounded by Israel’s recent move toward importing foreign, low-wage workers from places such as Thailand and the Philippines in place of hiring Palestinians workers. This has meant that the Palestinian working-class, which was created through the forced dispossession from farmland in 1948, has become a “tap” that can “be turned on and off depending on the economic and political situation” (Hanieh 2002: 35). De-development is thus has undermined development of an industrial sector in the West Bank. How does water figure into de-development? Notice the 1400% gap in water used in industry There is simply not enough water available to have a viable industrial sector. Annual Water Consumption per Person in Cubic Meters, Israelis and West Bank Palestinians, 1996:  How does water figure into de-development? Notice the 1400% gap in water used in industry There is simply not enough water available to have a viable industrial sector. Annual Water Consumption per Person in Cubic Meters, Israelis and West Bank Palestinians, 1996 Source: B’Tselem 1998 Technological Dependency:  Technological Dependency De-development also affects the agricultural sector. “The super-green revolution” which involves the use of drip irrigation and other water efficient forms of irrigation have transformed the Jordan Valley, in the West Bank (Elmusa 1995). Slide53:  DRIP IRRIGATION JORDAN VALLEY, ISRAEL YARMUCH RIVER - RESERVOIR, Source: Jordan Valley Website Super-green Revolution:  Super-green Revolution The technologies, while water efficient, pose problems for West Bank farmers by increasing their dependence on western technologies. They have had a limited impact because of their high capital costs and the unpredictability of export markets. Most importantly, the new technology is suited not to the capabilities of small farmers or to their need to cultivate staple crops. Thus, they do not benefit the bulk of the farmers in the region (Elmusa 1995). Slide55:  The important point you must understand is that for the Palestinians agriculture is their most viable economic base… But for the Israelis, the water is not an economic necessity. Most of the water from the mountain aquifer goes to the settlements. Slide56:  Settlements are a big source of conflict and are illegal under international law, which prohibits an citizens of an occupying country from living in the occupied area. Water: From Wells to Destination:  Water: From Wells to Destination Technology:  Technology There are several ways that water gets from wells to homes and agricultural land. 1) Through a piping network 2) From water tanks 3) From cisterns and pools How the Piping Network Works:  How the Piping Network Works Water comes from wells and that are pumped into a piping network. There are valves at every junction of the network that open and close. When people turn on and off the faucet they are actually manually opening the valve that lets the water come out. Source: The Scientific Visualization Group Slide60:  One half of the piping network is controlled by Israel; the other half is controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Palestinians who get their water from the Israeli network suffer from intermittent service because Israelis turn their water off during droughts and political turmoil. Source: Palestinian Hydrology Group Case in Point:  Case in Point “…In 1984 the village of al-Rujayb reportedly paid JD1,000 (or about $3,000) and the subscribers JD35 each in order to get hooked up with Mekorot’s (Israeli National Water Carrier) mainline. In May 1989, however, water ceased to reach the houses built on higher elevations; then the cutoff expanded to other areas until by December the entire village was without piped water” (Elmusa 1997: 115). Piping Network Statistics:  Piping Network Statistics The piping network supplies 60% of Palestinian household with water. 36% have adequate piping networks. 42% must contend with leaky pipes. 22% have “bad” networks -- Palestinian Hydrology Group Slide63:  Even though Israel supplies half of Palestinian households that are connected to the network with water, since 1993, Israel “...has spent less on services in the West Bank and Gaza than it has taken from them in tax….” (Wilkinson, 2002) A large part of the problem is that, to update infrastructure, Palestinian municipalities have to deal with arbitrary and bureaucratic obstacles enforced by the Israeli government. Water Tankers:  Water Tankers Many communities rely on water tankers, because of Israel’s restrictions on development of new sources and disproportionate use of wells. Most of the water tankers get their water from Israel’s National Water Carrier (Mekorot). Water tanker, Jenin -- November 2002 Source: Palestinian Hydrology Group Problems for Water Tankers:  Problems for Water Tankers High price of water - as of September 2002, 75% of the Palestinian population lives under poverty line ($2/day) (Palestinian Hydrology Group) Harassment at the Mekorot connection Tanker drivers must risk their lives to go out of their area to get water. The biggest problem for them is attacks by Israeli settlers.-- Palestinian Hydrology Group Water tanker at checkpoint Source: John Reese Photographs A Case in Point :  A Case in Point Tanker carrying water for Beit Furik & Beit Dajan villages in the West Bank: …the tanker convoy had been fired on by settlers when one of the tankers broke down near the settlement entrance. While the drivers took cover at the DCO, about 400 meters away, settlers managed to unbolt and remove the water pump from the broken-down tanker. The soldiers at the DCO were quite sympathetic, the driver said, but they had not got the pump back (Wilkinson 2002) Slide67:  When drivers finally manage to fill the tankers, they must contend with an overwhelming number of checkpoints and road blockages. Tankers themselves are not always sterile, because of lack of water for cleaning. To make matters worse, it is not uncommon for unsterilized tankers to be kept waiting for hours in the sun. (Wilkinson) Waits at any of dozens of fixed and mobile Israeli military checkpoints can last for hours, often delay the arrival of much-needed water tankers, and artificially raise the price of those tankers’ water. Cisterns and Pools:  Cisterns and Pools Cisterns are water storage reservoirs that people dig either into rock or into soft earth. Cisterns store water from springs, water tankers, rooftops and other sources (Elmusa 1997). Cistern coverage, 615 of 708 West Bank communities: 20% (122 communities) < 5% 32% (193 communities) between 5 and 50% 37% (223 communities) have between 50 and 95% 11% (68 communities have 95%-- Palestinian Hyd. Group Source: John Reese Photographs, Cistern, 2003 Slide69:  Palestinians filling a cisterm with water from a tanker. ---Photo: B'Tselem, 1998 Impacts:  Impacts Impacts of Disparities:  Impacts of Disparities Livelihood Palestinians are unable to irrigate their farms, yet agriculture is their key economic base. There has been no industrial development in the West Bank for many reasons, including lack of water. Source: John Reese Photos, Palestinian farmland Impacts of Disparities:  Impacts of Disparities Health Over-extraction has caused salinity in many wells Inadequate sewage systems has led to contamination of wells. In some places people have resorted to using dirty water . Dirty water storage container--Rantis Village, West Bank Photo: Palestinian Hydrology Group Case in Point:  Case in Point B’tselem: Such extreme water shortages have created a colossal public health disaster throughout the West Bank. There are sharp increases in dehydration, digestive diseases, amoebic infections and diarrhea. Children are particularly vulnerable. One hospital in Hebron, for example, reported a case in which a breast feeding mother brought in her baby who was suffering from dehydration. The mother had not been drinking enough water. Without adequate amounts of water people cannot clean utensils, bottles, cisterns and tanks properly (B’Tselem 1998). Case in Point:  Case in Point In some places people have resorted to pumping water from dirty wells. In others they use stagnant water to wash with. In one village – Beit Dajan - for example, Reporter Talal Jabari , observed “…some residents…have started putting ladders into their cisterns to draw what little stagnant water remains”(Jabari 2002). Stagnant water is an ideal habitat for bugs and snails that spread disease . Case in Point:  Case in Point Hospitals are unable to deal with the increase in water-related diseases. Even before the Intifidha hospitals could not access adequate amounts of water. In September 1998, for example, the largest hospital in Hebron was reduced to digging a cistern to store water that it purchased from water tankers. On a few occasions the previous summer it had no water at all. This, explained the director, prohibited the hospital from operating “…the dialysis machines. More than ten patients were in dialysis at the time…” (b’Tselem 1998) Testimony of Mahmud Bashir Rahed Dawik, a physician at al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron:  Testimony of Mahmud Bashir Rahed Dawik, a physician at al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron “In the winter, when there is no water problem, we customarily change the sheets every eight hours. Now we do it only every twelve hours, except, of course, where there are blood stains or where the patient really dirtied the sheet. The hospital does not have enough water for laundering, and we often have to wait to do the laundry until the water tankers arrive. The bathrooms do not have any running water at all. The hospital does not have enough water to wash the patients….”(B’Tselm 1998) Impacts of Current Political Turmoil :  Impacts of Current Political Turmoil Intifadha The Second Intifadha began in 2000. Ultimately, it is the Palestinian uprising against ongoing Israeli domination and control. Israel’s response to the Intifadha has had dire consequences for Palestinian access to water Destruction of Pipes:  Destruction of Pipes Water pipe destroyed by Israeli tank --Source: Palestinian Hydrology Group Destroyed water pipe Source: John Reese Slide79:  The Separation Wall A separation wall is currently being built along the eastern border of the West Bank. Israel calls it a “security fence”, but many believe that it is actually an attempt to create a new eastern border. --It cuts juts far into the West Bank. Significantly diminishing Palestinian land. Source: John Reese Photos Slide80:  Confiscation of wells So far, at least 32 Palestinian wells, numerous olive groves and agricultural land has been confiscated in the process of building the “security fence” and this is only the beginning stages of construction --Palestinian Hydrology Group. The fence separates many Palestinian villages (on the eastern side of the fence) from their wells and farmland (on the western side). Source: Gush Shalom The Wall:  The Wall Palestinian Hydrology Group reports that wells on the opposite side of the fence “…are located in the Western Groundwater Basin and were drilled prior to 1967. As a result, Palestinians will loose nearly 18% of their share of the Western Groundwater Basin…” (Palestinian Hyd. Group). For many villages, that is their only water sources. Structural Terror: The construction continues - Qalandya Source: Middle East Report Conclusion:  Conclusion This cradle to grave analysis of water from the mountain aquifer calls into to question the existing racial, and class inequalities in Israel-Palestine in light of the values of equality, rationality and sustainability. Slide83:  Only by recognizing that current structure of control over water from the mountain aquifer, can we recognize that adoption of more water-efficient technologies by Palestinians and more equitiable distribution of water resources cannot occur without simultaneous political and economic restructuring in the region. Most importantly, of course, this restructuring would involve a complete end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. References:  References Amery, Hussein A. and Aaron T. Wolf. 2000. Water in the Middle East: A Geography of Peace. Austin: The University of Texas Press. Berck, Peter and Jonathon Lipow. 1994. Real and Ideal Water Rights: The Prospect for Reform in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. Resource and Energy Economics. 16: 287-301. B’Tselem (The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories). 1998. 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