Three Palestinian villages have been suffering from a water shortage for over a week during the hottest month of the year. The villages – Qarawat Bani Hassan, Biddya, and Sarta in the Nablus area – have received only a partial supply of water, leaving almost half of their residents without running water on certain days.
The three villages receive water from the Mekorot water company through COGAT's Civil Administration.
Qarawat Bani Hassan Mayor Aziz Aasi said that Mekorot had begun lowering the water quota for the villages, causing water pressure to drop.
"Following the decrease in water pressure, all the houses that are in the higher parts of the towns were left without a drop," he said.
Rifat Mari was one of the residents left without water. "I have three children and I need to walk for kilometers to a spring that has a stream of water in order to fill bottles for the kids. We haven't showered for several days."
The serious shortage last week led the village mayors to organize a protest outside the main water pump. Military troops, police, and Civil Administration officials arrived to try to restore calm and promised residents that the problem would be solved – but the water supply was not fully reinstated.
"Why do the Jewish neighbors next to us get a quota of 300 liters per person, while we only get 70 liters per person?" asked Biddya Mayor Suleiman Tah. "If they get such an amount of water, then we should get the same amount."
Meanwhile, the villages are being helped by neighboring Palestinian villages, which send water tankers every few days – but this is not enough.
"The residents are furious at me," said Aasi. "They think I have a button next to my bed that turns the village's water on and off."
COGAT said that Mekorot recently decided to adjust the water because of increased consumption, causing shortages in Palestinian and Israeli villages alike, and that the water supply had fully returned over the weekend.