Sarah Oz Johnson
In the Oslo Accord-defined Area C of the West Bank, approximately 11,000 Palestinians are unserved by the water network, forced to rely on water trucking at extremely high prices. In response to this situation, Gruppo di Volontariato Civile (GVC), in partnership with UNICEF, created a programme to subsidize water trucking that alleviates water scarcity while enhancing the sustainability of water service delivery, equitability of tariffs, and predictability of demand. Established in 2014, the programme now covers all the water-vulnerable communities in the West Bank and has reached 35,000 people. The programme links humanitarian and development interventions by using a contiguum approach, where the humanitarian provision of trucked water is accompanied by the construction of water infrastructure and the creation of a multilevel water trucking governance system that defines the roles and responsibilities of all national, regional, and local actors in the water supply chain. By embedding water trucking into the Palestinian Water Authority’s normal activities, the programme is designed to escape a cycle of chronic emergency humanitarian response, in line with the national water sector reform agenda. Eventually, the international donor funding on which the programme depends should be phased out by implementing an equitable, universal water tariff schedule across the entire West Bank, with rates set high enough to subsidize the provision of reliable, safe, and affordable water to the vulnerable residents of Area C.