Wednesday, July 2, 2008


(May 2008)
It doesn't rain here all summer long. We probably won't have any significant rain again until late October, or even November. In the spring we have a lush growth of wild flowers as most wild plants rush to finish their growing season before the heat of summer and lack of water kills them off. By now, the beginning of July, the fields are brown and dry.
(May 2008)
Water is naturally a scarce resource here. It is one of the issues of contention between the Israelis and Palestinians. I was pleased to see that the BBC's website had an article about Israeli Human rights group B'Tselem's latest report about the water shortage in the West Bank. The report says that the already unfair distribution of water between Palestinians and Israelis will be further aggravated by this year's drought. Here are the figures from the report:

According to the World Health Organization, the per capita minimal amount of water needed for household and urban needs is one hundred liters a day. Due to the chronic water shortage, water consumption in the northern West Bank has dropped to one-third this amount. In Tubas, per capita consumption is 30 liters; in Jenin, it is 38 liters. In Nablus and the Southern Hebron Hills, the figure is slightly higher than fifty liters a day.

Average per capita consumption throughout the West Bank is 66 liters, two-thirds of the minimal amount needed according to the WHO. These figures include water for livestock, meaning that the water consumed for personal use is even less.

In comparison, average daily water consumption in Israeli cities is 235 liters, and 214 liters in local councils, 3.5 times higher than Palestinian consumption in the West Bank.

Every year we have water shortages in the summer, but this year seems worse than usual. Do you see the black barrels on the roof in the background of this picture?
All the houses here have those barrels to store water. They are supposed to ensure that if the water from the main line runs out, there is still water for the house. They are placed on the highest part of the roof to increase the water pressure into the house. Lately the water has stayed off so long we end up with no running water. Yesterday when I woke up, there was just enough water left to flush the toilet once. It was off all day yesterday. We have a cistern under the house that collects the rainwater that falls on the roof each winter, to use as a backup, alhamdulillah, but it isn't clean enough to drink. There is a pump to get the water out, but it quit working last year. My husband and the landlord don't seem to be able to agree whose job it is to get it fixed. So it still doesn't work. I can still siphon water out, but it is slow, and I have to carry it in buckets. Just carrying enough water to flush the toilets for a family of seven is a pain. I also drag my dishes outside to wash them when the water is off.
When the boys were in school, I ended up washing their uniforms out there too. (The cat fell in to the wet laundry the second after I snapped that picture.)I have dozens of bottles stored in the kitchen and bathrooms for days like this, for washing and drinking. But last night the water only came on very weakly, and didn't have enough pressure to get up to the roof to fill our barrels. So, no water again today. At 7AM I filled a couple bottles at the main line, but the water was murky and yellow. By 9 AM I was pleased to find that while the pressure was still weak, the water looked clear enough to drink. I had hoped it was going to come on stronger, but by noon there was no water again. So now it is time to drag my dinner dishes outside in the late afternoon sun to wash them again. And then if I have the energy I will bring in enough water to at least wash my hair.

I used to tell my kids when we were growing up that we have just enough water to make our lives reasonably comfortable, but not so much that we forget to be grateful for it.



david santos said...

Great work and excellent photos.
Happy day

alajnabiya said...

Thank you, and good day to you too.

Lavender © said...

Sub7anallah... I truly admire your strentgh, masha'allah 3laiki. I didn't know the water issues was that bad there.. Allah y3eenkum! You are truly opening my eyes to a whole new world! Thank You!