Impact of Untreated Wastewater on natural Water Bodies: Risk Assessment

  • Research & Development
  • May 2010 - Nov 2014
  • Partners: An-Najah University, Palestine; Birzeit University, Palestine ; Palestinian Water Authority
  • Donor: Stichting IHE
  • Donor Programme: UNESCO-IHE Partnership Research Fund - part of DUPC
Middle East and North Africa
Middle East and North Africa

Water resources in arid and semi-arid regions are often very vulnerable to anthropogenic and natural changes. In Palestine, (i) the per capita water availability is decreasing continuously, (ii) water resources mismanagement especially in agriculture is significant and (iii) supplementary water sources including water harvesting and wastewater reuse is getting high importance. The development of sustainable water supply is a challenging task and the increasing demands for water for different uses require a broad range of water management strategies and tools. In the West-Bank (Palestine), a significant part of the wastewater receives no or only limited treatment before being discharged in small perennial streams or wadi’s (ephemeral streams). The polluted water infiltrates to a large extent into shallow and deep groundwater bodies and, consequently, pollutes the scarce water resource. However, local residents of Palestinian cities and rural communities rely on groundwater as the main drinking water source. Additionally, current and future sources for irrigation water include (partly) treated wastewater and groundwater. This project focuses on the fate and transport of contaminations in ephemeral streams and aquifers and the effects of wastewater on the environment, water supply and public health.