Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner responsible for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, yesterday visited the EU-funded seawater desalination plant in southern Gaza.
Al Jazeera reported that the first phase of the desalination plant is in its final stage of construction, and is so far the largest being built in Gaza. The EU invested EUR 10 million in this phase which, when fully operational, will produce 6,000 m3 of potable water daily. This will provide over 75,000 Palestinians with safe drinking water.
During the visit, Hahn announced an additional funding of EUR 10 Million Euros for the second phase of the desalination plant which will begin mid-June 2016 and is expected to be completed within 36 months.
Gaza desalination plant to be operational in autumn https://t.co/ftJDx74zj7
— Joe Catron (@jncatron) June 15, 2016
Once the second phase is completed, the plant will produce of a total of 12,000 m3 of safe drinkable water daily.
The construction of the plant is led in partnership with the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) and Gaza’s Coastal Municipalities Water Utilities (CMWU).
Hahn said, “Water and natural resources have been significantly damaged after the continuous years of closure and conflicts in Gaza. As a consequence, nearly 95% of water in Gaza is considered unfit for human consumption.”
He added, “Therefore we are supporting this plant that will provide clean fresh water for 150,000 Palestinians,”
June Kunugi, UNICEF Special Representative for the State of Palestine said, “The near-completion of the first phase of this ambitious project is a symbol of hope and positive change in Gaza, increasing access to safe water which is essential for life and well-being”.