The European Union and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) lay the first stone Thursday to build a desalination plant in Gaza to provide 75,000 local residents with drinking water, according to Agence France Presse. A joint statement said the project will be implemented by UNICEF thanks to a 10-million-Euro ($13.7-million) EU grant. The plant at Deir al-Balah in the centre of the territory is expected to become operational in 2015, and will supply fresh water to people in Khan Yunis and Rafah in the south.
Ahead of World Water Day on Saturday, the Palestinian Authority Bureau of Statistics said that 28 percent of its water bought from Israeli national water carrier Mekorot, and that 85 percent of groundwater supplies are extracted by Israel. The bureau claimed that just 5.8 percent of Gaza households have good quality water because of
increased salinity caused by sewage infiltration into groundwater.