Israel, PA resume cooperation on water issues

The IDF signed an agreement with the PA on water cooperation, the fourth such pact between Israel and the Palestinians in the past year and a half. 

The IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Major General Yoav Mordechai, and the Palestinian Minister for Civil Affairs, Hussein a-Sheikh, signed an agreement on Sunday to renew the activity of the Joint Water Committee, together with the heads of the Israeli and Palestinian water authorities.

The agreement is intended to establish a framework for the convening of the Joint Water Committee in order to improve and renew the water infrastructure in Judea and Samaria, a necessity for maintaining the standard of living for the populations in the area, the IDF stated.

Following the agreement, the Joint Water Committee will convene for the first time in six years to discuss the supply of additional water to Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip, expanding water sources via new drilling, environmental matters, tariffs on water, use of recycled water for agriculture and the advancement of hydrological matters. The agreement will enable the installation of new water, sewage and wastewater pipelines in a timely and effective manner.

The agreement will enable the advancement of new initiatives, the planning of new water pipelines to increase their capacity – as the existing ones have reached full capacity – and the advancement of additional projects, the IDF said in a statement.

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The Committee will deal with matters pertaining to the coordination of the activity of joint water reservoirs so as to prepare for the coming summer months, during which demand is greater than supply capacity.

The region has recently experienced a water crisis, with old water systems and a dry winter contributing to the emergency. The Palestinians initially refused to work with Israel and instead hurled accusations and issued threats at international forums.

The sides are currently formulating a long-term strategic plan towards the year 2040, based on demographic projections.

The Committee will enable the advancement of dozens of initiatives, many of which will be examined in the immediate future as well as several others, including the installation of new water pipelines in Judea and Samaria.

“Signing the water agreement demonstrates yet again that there are issues that should remain outside the political playing field and that when both sides see what is in the best interest of their respective constituencies, understandings agreements can be arrived at,” stated Mordechai. “During the last year and a half, we have signed four agreements: electricity, water, mail and 3G cellular coverage, which are intended to improve the standard of living for all populations in the area.”

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News