Al Jazeera English

Enas Taha, a resident of the Palestinian village of Kafr al-Deek in the occupied West Bank, has become desperate.

"Since the [water] crisis started in June, the municipality has been able to supply water for only one hour twice a week," Taha told Al Jazeera. "I am checking the weather forecast every day; they announced rain three weeks ago, but it has not come yet. The only thing I can do is to pray to God."

Many West Bank communities are facing similar problems, amid an acute water shortage that has lasted for months. In the Salfit, Jenin and Hebron governorates, some villages have gone as long as 40 days in a row without running water.

Some Palestinians have joked that the water bill collector comes to their homes more often than water. As demand rises, the cost of drinking water has skyrocketed, with some families spending up to 30 percent of their meagre incomes to purchase it.

Enas Taha shows her garden, which has turned brown due to the severe water shortages since June [Eloise Bollack/Al Jazeera]

Israel implements a policy of water cuts each summer, but this year, it reached an unprecedented peak. In early June, Israeli water company Mekorot informed the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) of summertime supply cuts totalling more than 50 percent - and the cuts, while not as dramatic, remain in effect today, more than a month after the official end of summer.

"We are in regular contact with [Mekorot] to find a solution, but they constantly give us different excuses, such as the increase in demand, rising temperature, etc," Deeb Abdelghafour, the PWA's director of the water resources department, told Al Jazeera.

Taha shows her empty beehives: 'Last year, we had bees so we could produce our own honey, but all the bees died due to lack of water; there are not enough flowers' [Eloise Bollack/Al Jazeera]

However, disparity is evident in the lush gardens, parks and swimming pools in illegal Israeli settlements. The key difference is that Palestinian villages in the West Bank are not connected to the national water grid, relying instead on local underground supplies.

Read more on Al Jazeera English

Details:
Eloise Bollack / Al Jazeera English
October 24, 2016
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Publication
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Water right
Palestine