Overview and Activities of Civil Administration’s Water Department – March 2010

The Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, responsible  for administering and coordinating civilian and humanitarian needs in the area, is comprised of various staff offices working alongside the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian population, IDF and Israeli authorities, as well as with international organizations and NGOs to fulfill these needs.

The issue of water is one of the most critical issues for local economic and social development  in the region, and as such, the Civil Administration’s Water Department is devoted to issues of water management and infrastructure development in Areas C of Judea and Samaria. Like most offices in the Civil Administration, the Water Department works closely with its Palestinian counterpart, the Palestinian Water Authority, leaders of local communities in the region, and with international organizations that often fund projects in the water sector.  This cooperation has led to the continued construction of water infrastructure such as wells and pipe lines, and improvements in the health and lives of the local community members.

The  following detailed report is of the structure, procedures, and ongoing activities of the Water Department. In it, the following information and statistics can be found:

  • Potential water projects in Judea and Samaria are approved by a joint committee consisting of Israeli Civil Administration Water Department officers and Palestinian Water Authority representatives.
  • Only projects  in Area C (approximately 60%  of Judea and Samaria) need to be approved by the Civil Administration. Projects in Areas A and B of Judea and Samaria, where the overwhelming majority of Palestinians reside, need no approval from the Civil Administration. The Palestinian Authority is solely responsible for the water needs of these areas. It is also responsible for carrying out and implementing water infrastructure projects in Palestinian communities in Area C, with the approval and support of the Civil Administration.
  • In 1967, 80% of the Palestinian population was not connected to the water network. Today, 90% of the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria are connected to the national water grid.
  • The recently constructed Rujib well, inaugurated by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, is a joint project between the Civil Administration, the Palestinian Water Authority, and the international community: the well provides water for 11 Palestinian towns in the Nablus district that were previously not connected to the network.
  • The  7% GDP increase in 2009-2010 for Judea and Samaria presents challenges for the Water Department as there are increasing water demands and environmental pressures to contend with due to the booming economy in the region.
  • A recent World Bank report claimed that 82 water projects in Judea and Samaria are supposedly being delayed by the Civil Administration. In actuality, only 3 of the projects were rejected by the Civil Administration. 47 of the projects cited in the report were situated in Areas A and B and therefore under the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority, 28 were in fact permitted by the Civil Administration, 6 projects were never submitted by the Palestinian Water Authority, and 5 are still under review.
  • A  project recently approved by the Civil Administration is a joint effort by Japanese and Israeli NGOs that will create a wetland in Judea and Samaria which will treat waste water and serve as a source for the agricultural  sector.
  • The number of permits granted for the construction of water infrastructure projects in Palestinian towns has increased six-fold since 2007.