In­ter­na­tional coali­tion sup­ports Gaza de­sali­na­tion pro­ject with €456m: EU

The Daily News Egypt - - News - By Ha­gar Om­ran

The Euro­pean Union (EU) an­nounced Tuesday its mo­bil­is­ing of €456m in fi­nan­cial sup­port to im­ple­ment the Gaza Cen­tral De­sali­na­tion Plant and as­so­ci­ated works pro­ject, at a con­fer­ence in Brus­sels that was co-chaired by the EU and the Pales­tinian Author­ity.

The pro­ject will pro­vide a min­i­mum of 55m cu­bic me­tres of clean drink­ing water an­nu­ally to peo­ple in dire need of it and will be the big­gest in­fras­truc­ture pro­ject in Gaza, read a state­ment from the EU del­e­ga­tion to Egypt.

Euro­pean Com­mis­sioner for Neigh­bour­hood Pol­icy and En­large­ment Ne­go­ti­a­tions Jo­hannes Hahn said the pro­ject will meet the most ur­gent water needs in Gaza, and will con­trib­ute to eco­nomic growth, en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity, and sta­bil­ity.

“I’m proud that the EU pledged €70m for the de­sali­na­tion plant plus €7.1m for man­age­ment costs.To­day’s suc­cess­ful pledg­ing con­fer­ence takes us a step closer to mak­ing a re­al­ity of this pro­ject and to im­prove liv­ing con­di­tions in Gaza, and re­move ob­sta­cles to eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment there,” added Hahn.

Pales­tinian Prime Min­is­ter Rami Ham­dal­lah said that the con­fer­ence car­ried a mes­sage of hope for the peo­ple of Gaza, stress­ing that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is not ne­glect­ing their suf­fer­ing, but dili­gently work­ing to de­sign­ing in­ter­ven­tions to ad­dress the dire water sit­u­a­tion in the strip.

“The pro­ject will con­trib­ute to the po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity of the re­gion as water scarcity can have grim reper­cus­sions and spark fur­ther ten­sions,” noted Ham­dal­lah.

Forty-two coun­tries’ del­e­ga­tions, in­clud­ing Is­rael, 20 EU coun­tries, and eight in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tions ex­pressed their sup­port for the pro­ject and un­der­lined the ur­gency of mak­ing quick progress, said the state­ment.

The Union for the Mediter­ranean, the Euro­pean In­vest­ment Bank, the World Bank, Of­fice of the Quar­tet, and the Is­lamic De­vel­op­ment Bank ex­pressed their con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to im­ple­ment­ing the pro­ject, added the state­ment.

The Euro­pean In­vest­ment Bank (EIB) will launch the ten­der­ing pro­ce­dure of the pro­ject on 15 April, af­ter sign­ing a let­ter of in­tent with the Pales­tinian Author­ity dur­ing the con­fer­ence to en­sure fur­ther prepa­ra­tions for im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pro­ject.

Two mil­lion Pales­tini­ans in Gaza rely al­most ex­clu­sively on the Coastal Aquifer Basin—which has a ca­pac­ity of 55-60m cu­bic me­tres an­nu­ally—as a source of drink­ing water.The Gaza Strip’s to­tal water de­mand is 180m cu­bic me­tres per year,said the EU del­e­ga­tion’s state­ment, adding that only 3% of the water pumped from the aquifer com­plies with World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) drink­ing water qual­ity stan­dards.

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