Ribbon cutting at Zeita pumping station with H.E. Eng. Mazen Ghunaim, Head of the Palestinian Water Authority; H.E. Kees van Baar, Head of Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and UNDP Assistant Special Representative Sufian Mushasha. © UNDP/PAPP - Ameen Saeb

East Jerusalem, 11 November 2020 – The Kingdom of the Netherlands with the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) and UNDP’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People held a closing ceremony on 11 November 2020 for the first phase of the transboundary wastewater pollution control project and celebrated the launch of its second phase worth US$5 million.

H.E. Eng. Mazen Ghunaim, Head of the Palestinian Water Authority, thanked the Netherlands for being a trusted partner in the water sector, UNDP for implementing the project, the local authorities and the community, the real partners in this project. "The wastewater sector faces great challenges. Many people are still not connected to a network, especially in the West Bank, which threatens the environment and public health, particularly cesspits. Wastewater projects and treatment plants are a top priority for PWA and this project is a good example".

The first phase of the project targeted six communities in Baqa Al-Sharqieh, Zeita and Nazlat municipalities, benefiting approximately 18,000 people. The communities targeted used cesspits and dumped wastewater into Wadi Abu Nar and surrounding areas, posing significant public health risks and constituting a threat to the shared water aquifer.

With a US$6.7 million contribution from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, UNDP was able to address these issues and support the Palestinian Water Authority in improving its transboundary wastewater management and control. During the first phase, wastewater collection networks and two pumping stations were established connecting the targeted communities,  flow measurement systems were installed in five border areas, the capacities of the targeted municipalities were developed in wastewater management, and finally support was provided to the PWA in monitoring the quantities of transboundary wastewater.

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Delegation visiting Zeita pumping station
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Building on the progress achieved in enhancing wastewater pollution control in six communities in the Tulkarem Governorate, the new phase will be targeting Attil municipality, in addition to improving cross-border wastewater flow measurements and management mechanisms through the installation of measurement flow meters in Attil, Hebron and Beit Jala. It is anticipated that by 2023 around 8,200 people living in Attil will have increased access to environmentally sound municipal wastewater services, in addition to a revised water tariff in to ensure the sustainability of the services provided.

“These two wastewater projects contribute to sound resource management providing direct benefits for Palestinian households, while preserving shared water resources and building foundations for effective cross-border water management,” said Kees van Baar, Head of Mission of the Netherlands Representative Office to the Palestinian Authority.

UNDP Assistant Special Representative Sufian Mushasha, thanked the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Palestinian Water Authority for their partnership with UNDP and highlighted the importance of establishing a comprehensive wastewater management system that safeguards the environment, strengthens pollution control, enhances public health and reduces tensions across communities. “SDG 6 provides an important spotlight on improving water and sanitation as an integral piece for the environment, energy, and food amongst others”.

The ceremony, which was culminated with ribbon cutting at the Zeita pumping station and a visit to Wadi Zumer flowmeter, was attended by H.E. Eng. Mazen Ghunaim, Head of the Palestinian Water Authority; H.E. Kees van Baar, Head of Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; H.E. Isam Abu Baker, Governor of Tulkarem; Mr Nasha’t Daqqa, Mayor of Attil; Mr Mohanned Masarweh, Mayor of Zeita; and UNDP Assistant Special Representative Sufian Mushasha.

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