Project will Benefit 900,000 Palestinians in Bethlehem and Hebron
WASHINGTON, April 22,
2015 – Sewage from the Hebron Governorate runs untreated through
populated areas causing a substantial damage to the aquifer and the health
of the residents. The US$4.5
million grant for the first phase of the Hebron Regional Wastewater
Management Project, approved today by the World Bank Group Board of
Directors, will finance a treatment plant and reduce environmental
pollution from wastewater produced in the Hebron Municipality.
“Hebron Governorate is
one of the largest governorates in the West Bank in terms of area,
population, and agricultural land and Hebron city is an important economic
center.The wastewater pollution is a pressing environmental and public
health hazard that the project aims to address,” said Steen Lau
Jorgensen, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza.
The environmental damage
caused by the untreated wastewater has been a serious challenge for many
years as the sewage affects the communities living alongside the sewage
stream in Wadi As-Samen and pollutes the eastern aquifer which is used as
a supply of potable water for the southern West Bank. Therefore, the first
phase of the project will finance a regional wastewater treatment plant
with the capacity to treat the existing sewage stream from Hebron
Municipality, and will further develop the plans and designs for a
comprehensive integrated regional solution for wastewater management and
reuse in the Hebron Governorate.
The next phases will
finance the development of irrigated agriculture with treated wastewater
and further expand the wastewater treatment capacity.
The total estimated costs of the first phase are US$62 million,
financed by a consortium of international development partners as well the
Palestinian Authority and Hebron Municipality.
The project will benefit
the 104,000 residents of Palestinian communities living along Wadi As-Samen
as well as the 900,000 people in the Bethlehem and Hebron Governorates who
obtain their water supplies from the eastern aquifer.
“This project is the
first and essential step to reduce the environmental pollution from
untreated sewage in the Hebron Governorate”, said Pieter David Meerbach,
World Bank Senior Water Resources Specialist and team leader of the
project. “The project will generate significant benefits.
The Palestinians cope with one of the lowest levels of per capita
water resource availability in the region. The project will increase this
water availability, since a large quantity of treated wastewater will
become available for beneficial use in agriculture or for industrial