GAZA, Monday, June 5, 2023 (WAFA) - Today, representatives of the United Nations, the European Union, and the Palestinian Authority officially marked the finalization of the Gaza Strip desalination plant expansion. With this milestone, the water production capacity of the Southern Gaza Seawater Desalination Plant is substantially increased, reaching 175,000 more people.
The event was attended by the Minister of the Palestinian Water Authority, the Representative of the European Union, Representatives from European countries, the Special Representative of UNICEF in the State of Palestine, representatives from the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU), Youth and local stakeholders.
“This seawater desalination plant provides an example of how Palestinian authorities and international organizations can work together to help collectively fulfill people’s right to safe water. Thanks to this expansion, the plant now provides 250,000 people with affordable safe water for drinking and domestic purposes. It also helps slow down the deterioration of the coastal aquifer by reducing water extraction. Today, we are marking a major milestone in this important journey we led with the EU, the Palestinian Water Authority and representatives from the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility”, said Lucia Elmi, the Special Representative of UNICEF in the State of Palestine.
"The completion of the expansion of the Southern Gaza Seawater Desalination plant marks a significant achievement in our joint efforts to address the pressing water needs in the Gaza Strip. By working hand in hand with the Palestinian Authority, UNICEF, and local stakeholders, the EU and Member States want to make a tangible difference in the lives of 175,000 more people, who are expected to have access to safe and affordable water for their daily needs. This project exemplifies the power of collaboration and demonstrates the European Union's commitment to supporting sustainable solutions that enhance the well-being of the Palestinian community. We will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure access to clean water for all,” said European Union Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff on the occasion.
“Completion of the works and expansion at Southern Gaza Seawater Desalination plant is a major achievement as we are moving forward to operate the plant sustainably. This project is a great example of the cooperation we support and appreciate with local and international partners in developing water and wastewater projects to serve our people the best way we can. Our target is to produce high-quality desalinated water upon international and Palestinian standards for more than 250.000 people in Khan Younis and Rafah, through the largest desalination plant in the Gaza Strip, which will improve the quality of our people's livelihood, in addition to protecting the coastal aquifer from further deterioration and over abstraction. By operating this plant, our production of desalinated water to 13 mcm annually (currently 8 mcm).”, said Eng. Mazen Ghunaim Head of the Palestinian Water Authority.
Water is not only a basic human need and right, but it is also essential for the functioning of hospitals, schools and households. UNICEF remains ready to support national institutions in planning and delivering sustainable water and sanitation services and responds to emergency water, sanitation, and hygiene needs of the most vulnerable populations.