Zaidan Abu Zuhry
The Gaza Strip suffers from a severe water crisis; over 95 per cent of the water extracted from the Aquifer is considered unfit for human consumption, and inaction is leading to potentially irreversible damage to the Aquifer by 2020. To address this crisis, UNICEF, with funding from the European Union, initiated the implementation of a seawater desalination programme. It is meant to help vulnerable families access safe drinking water at an affordable price while contributing to the prevention of an environmental catastrophe. This seawater desalination plant is the largest in Gaza and produces 6,000 m3 per day. It will be extended to produce 20,000 m3 per day and ultimately serve a population of 250,000. Seawater desalination is an energy-intensive process and, given the limited availability of electricity within Gaza, UNICEF has focused on identifying innovative means of generating and conserving energy to tackle the energy–water nexus by incorporating renewable energy and energy recovery to maximize the plant’s viability. An innovative strategy to operate the plant with renewable energy sources has also been formulated to ensure self-reliant and economical operation, and awaits donor funding for implementation. This is expected to become a model to be followed for the building of other future plants in the Gaza Strip.