Water in Gaza: Time Bomb or Ray of Hope?

(Geological Society of America/Science Daily) Israeli, Palestinian, and French geoscientists have worked out a way to save Gaza drinking water while offering Israelis and Palestinians a rare opportunity to work together and solve a problem for their mutual benefit. The Mediterranean Coastal Aquifer shared by Israel and the PA is quickly becoming contaminated with salts, nitrates, and boron, explains geochemist Avner Vengosh of Ben-Gurion University in Beersheva, Israel. In a joint Israeli, Palestinian, and French/EU study of the geochemistry of the area, Vengosh and his colleagues discovered that overpumping of groundwater by the Gaza Strip's 1.3 million people has caused the groundwater level to drop, creating a slope in the groundwater table that allows the naturally saline groundwater from Israel to flow steadily westward and spoil the aquifer under the Gaza Strip. Drilling several large wells on the eastern boundary of the Gaza Strip would slow the progress of the saline water into the Gaza Strip and go a long way toward preserving what's left of the potable water under Gaza. What's more, the saline water from the same boundary wells could be desalinated and used to help offset the PA's growing demand for water. "They are already talking about desalination on the coast," said Vengosh. By investing the same money for such a desalination facility along the Israel-Gaza Strip boundary instead, not only could useable water be produced, but also an aquifer could be saved, he says.

2003-11-07 00:00:00

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