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Eyes Wide Open | Photo Blog

August 2020

Thirsty

Gazans’ total dependency on Israel’s good graces can be broken down into endless categories and kinds of pain, but the dire shortage of water leaves one at a loss for words. Some two million people rely almost entirely on a single water source – the coastal aquifer – which has been polluted by over-pumping and wastewater contamination. Accordingly, 97% of the water is contaminated and non-potable. Gazans are forced to use this murky water for bathing, dishwashing, cleaning, and watering crops. For cooking and drinking, they buy desalinated water in containers, 70% of which is polluted. In the summer, when consumption naturally rises, things get worse.

Residents try to store water in containers on their rooftops, so it can flow down to the taps when the water supply is cut off, but need electricity to pump the water up. As the water and power supply are often unsynchronized,…