Thousands of residents of Ramallah and its environs have been suffering from a severe water shortage since last week, reported Haaretz newspaper, adding it was the worst shortage in 35 years.
Palestinian sources told the paper that the shortage, which is affecting some 210,000 residents of 50 towns and villages, would not have been so severe had the Civil Administration -- the Israeli authority regulating activities in areas of the West Bank not under Palestinian control -- been more forthcoming on its requests for permits.
"The Civil Administration allegedly insisted on a permit for the construction of a structure in which the electrical switchboard for the new water pumping station north of Ramallah could be set up," one source was quoted as saying.
The Palestinians filed the necessary requests for permits as early as March 7th, and even if the requests are approved this week, six more weeks are necessary to complete the necessary work, said the paper.
According to head of the Jerusalem Water Works, Abd al-Kareem Assad, "this is the worst water shortage in 35 years in Ramallah. The Water Works, which was set up by the Jordanians before 1967, is an autonomous body, which continues to provide water in the Jerusalem-Ramallah area."
Over the years, 30 percent of the water needs of the area were supplied by four wells run by the Water Works and the rest by the Israeli water company, Mekorot, added Haaretz.
The recent drought led to as much as 50 percent less pumping from the four wells.
According to the Oslo agreements, Israel continues to control all the water resources in Israel and the territories, but the Palestinians have been allowed to drill several wells in the eastern aquifer, the paper said.
The shortage is also the result of a drop in the amount of water provided by Mekorot, Assad told the paper - Albawaba.com
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