Implications of Water Management Policies on Water Poverty in Palestine

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Rawand Bassam Othman Bushnaq
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This research aimed at understanding and describing the impacts of alternative governmental policies on water supply and demand, poverty and income, water quality and water-related eco systems, and food production and food security, on public, and estimating and analyzing water poverty index using various published methods. To accomplish these objectives a field questionnaire and interviews have been developed. The population of the questionnaire was the residents of the West Bank. Interviews were held with persons from West Bank Water Department, Palestinian Water Authority, and Municipalities. The water poverty index was calculated using different approaches, Conventional Composite Index, Holistic, Matrix and WPI Pentagram,Simple Time Analysis, Falkenmark Water Stress. It was found based on results of field survey that the best approach in estimating water poverty index was the Holistic approach, the estimated water poverty index was WPI= 39.5 percent which indicates that the region faces a serious water problem. To analyze the results of the questionnaire, different statistical techniques have been used. These include means, standard deviations, and percentages, one way analysis of variance and Scheffe Post Hoc test, and independent T test. The main findings of the research were: 1. Significant differences between mails and females in the consumptions of water domain in favor to males. 2. Significant differences due to differences in the place of living for consumption of water, health situation, and sanitation services domains in favor to peoples living in cities. This may be due to the fact that still there are some villages not connected to network, also due to the economic situation for peoples living in villages and refugee camps. 3. Significant differences due to differences in the number of families in the house hold for the consumption of water and sanitation services domains. No differences are shown for the other domains. It is found that houses of one family consume less water than houses of two and three families. For sanitation services it is found that houses of one family have better services than houses of two and three families. 4. Significant differences due to differences in family members number for: supply of water, consumption of water, health situation, and water quality domains with favor to families of fewer members. 5. Significant differences due to differences in monthly income for: supply of water, sanitation services, and water quality domains with favor to higher monthly income. 6. No significant differences due to water percentage from monthly income for all domains. It was found that 15.4% of people's sample pay from 21-40% of their monthly income for water services which is a considerable percentage. 7. According to the sample surveyed, it was found that the standard of living was distributed according to the following categories as: 8. 46.3% of the sample surveyed was of better-off category, 9. 50.4% of the sample surveyed was of middle category, 10. 3.2% of the sample surveyed is of worse – off category. 11. Significant differences between existence of water tank and not for all the domains with favor to house with water tank. 12. Still there are some regions not connected to safe water and sanitation. As a consequence, water – and sanitation – related diseases are spread there. About 20% of the sample members were affected by water related diseases. 13. From the results of the interviews, it was found that the existing tariffs do not encourage water conservation, and are generally inadequate to recover operation and maintenance costs. 14. From the results of the interviews, it was found that the future tariff structure (developed by PWA) did not take into consideration those class of peoples whom can not pay for water. 15. Imports of virtual water on one hand could reduce agricultural water and as a consequence could help in alleviating water scarcity (by saving water for other purposes). But on the other hand could have negative impacts on Palestinians economical situation. 16. Low water prices and subsides for capital investment and operation and maintenance threaten the financial viability of irrigation and water supply. 17. There is no role for private sector in management or expansion of water sector services 18. The existing water allocation mechanisms are characterized as inefficient and not clear as they are a continuation of the system practiced before peace negotiation. 19. Clarifying and strengthening water rights can play an important role in improving water allocation equity and efficiency, while a lack of effective water rights systems creates major problems and inequities for managing increasingly scarce water. 20. Making the water rights tradable may have disadvantages more than benefits under the current situations. 21. Access to safe water is crucial for poor residents. Often women, the poor, and disadvantaged groups, including minorities and indigenous peoples, have unequal access to water, which can lead to even greater increases in poverty. 22. Privatization of water sector could help in improving access to water for the poor if privatization is done in a studied way. 23. Trade-off among multiple uses of water is possible if practiced under complete control. 24. Under the current situation, no real control over the complete system can be practiced, so policies and action regarding water pollution and quality are difficult to implement.