Public Release:  Contaminated water presents bigger crisis in the Gaza strip

Researchers propose plan for resolution

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

A group of Israeli, Palestinian and French scientists have proposed a possible management solution to ameliorate the water quality crisis depriving residents of drinkable water in the Gaza Strip. The study is published in the September-October 2005 issue of the journal Ground Water. This special theme issue contains 14 papers on transboundary ground water.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority share the Southern Mediterranean Coastal Aquifer. The long-term over-exploitation in the Gaza Strip has resulted in a declining water table, accompanied by the degradation of water quality.

According to the researchers, the proposed management plan would provide a win-win situation for both Israelis and Palestinians, but requires cooperation between the two parties. The plan is a unique three phase effort among the researchers as a part of the European Union Fifth Framework Program. The first step involved investigating sources of salinity and contamination patterns in the area. Second, models were used to simulate the different water flow patterns along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. The third level of the project provided management scenarios tested by mathematical models.

"At present, the ground water in the Gaza Strip is the only source of water for its rapidly growing population, which is currently over one million, yet is unsuitable for drinking by any international standard, owing to high levels of salinity, nitrate, and boron pollution," state the authors. "The supply of good quality drinking water is vital for the future of the Gaza Strip and stability in the Middle East. Lack of adequate drinking water in the Gaza Strip might hinder future peace negotiations in the region."

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This study is published in the September-October issue of Ground Water. Media wishing to receive a PDF of the article contact ProfessionalNews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

About the Corresponding Authors

Avner Vengosh is an associate professor in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and an associate professor in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University. Currently, Dr. Vengosh is working on salinity and radioactivity in ground water in Israel and Jordan. He can be reached for questions and interviews at vengosh@duke.edu.

Erika Weinthal is an associate professor of political science at Tel Aviv University and an associate professor in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University. Her current research concerns the role of energy development strategies in the Caspian basin and their impact upon political and institutional development. She can be reached at weinthal@duke.edu.

About the Journal

Ground Water is the leading international journal focused exclusively on ground water. Since 1963, Ground Water has published a dynamic mix of papers on topics related to ground water including ground water flow and well hydraulics, hydrogeochemistry and contaminant hydrogeology, application of geophysics, groundwater management and policy, and history of ground water hydrology.

About Blackwell Publishing

Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with more than 600 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 750 journals annually and, to date has published close to 6,000 text and reference books, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.

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