The Secretariat considers the Gaza Desalination project as an important national project with regional impact and implications and believes that the Project will help meet most of the future medium- to long-term drinking water needs for 1.6 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, which is a critical humanitarian issue. It will help stabilize and regenerate the only fresh water source in Gaza, which is the “Coastal Aquifer” that runs mainly beneath the Gaza Strip but also Israel and Egypt. It will also be a step towards effective reduction of pollution in the Eastern Mediterranean, through the construction of a desalination facility, and a modern water distribution system, as an initial component of a broader water and waste water programme including development of a number of waste water treatment facilities.
The Secretariat also believes that the desalination project will contribute to the political stability of the region through the removal of the water scarcity issue from the web of the multiple and complex issues facing the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian Water Authority, the project promoter and implementing agency, has already carried out a proper assessment, through the conducting in 2003 of a feasibility study as well as a comparative study on the possible solutions for the Gaza water crisis in 2011 (currently being finalized), both of which strongly indicated that the desalination option represents the main solution to the crisis, was feasible and responded to an important humanitarian and health need and demand which can now be developed with the support and assistance of the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean.
The Secretariat firmly believes that this project will attract the required funding, mostly in terms of grants, from a number of donors within and outside the framework of the Union for the Mediterranean and will work with the Palestinian Authority to raise the €310 million required for the realization of the project.