- Title: WEST BANK: Jericho water treatment plant to stimulate date palm industry
- Date: 16th March 2011
- Summary: JERICHO, WEST BANK (RECENT - MARCH 01, 2011) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF LAND ON WHICH THE PALESTINIAN SEWAGE RECYCLING PROJECT WILL BE BUILT (4 SHOTS)) RAMALLAH, WEST BANK (RECENT - FEBRUARY 28, 2011) (REUTERS) PALESTINIAN PRIME MINISTER SALAM FAYYAD SIGNING AGREEMENT NAOFUMI HASHIMOTO, REPRESENTATIVE OF JAPAN TO THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY FAYYAD SIGNING/ HASHIMOTO SIGNING WIDE OF MEETING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PALESTINIAN PRIME MINISTER, SALAM FAYYAD, SAYING: "We are thankful to the Japanese government, through its representative in the Palestinian Authority Mr. Hashimoto, for this agreement which we signed, to the value of 32 million U.S. dollars, in order to implement the waste water treatment project in Jericho." OFFICIALS AT MEETING OFFICIALS STANDING UP TO LEAVE AT END OF MEETING JERICHO, WEST BANK (RECENT - MARCH 01, 2011) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PALM TREES THAT ARE THE MAIN TREES WILL BENEFIT FROM WASTE WATER TREATMENT PROJECT IN JERICHO HEAD OF PALESTINIAN AGRICULTURE ASSOCIATIONS UNION IBRAHIM DAIQ FEEDING FISH FISH FEEDING DUCK FEEDING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HEAD OF THE PALESTINIAN FARMERS' UNION, IBRAHIM DAIQ SAYING: "I think the mixing of the saline underground water with this water will give us good results, especially in expanding the cultivation of palm trees, which this area is famous for and which is economically beneficial for Palestinian farmers in the Jordan Valley area." FARMER ON HIS LAND VARIOUS OF WOMAN PLANTING SEEDS VARIOUS OF FARMERS SPRINKLING INSECTICIDE ON LAND
- Embargoed: 31st March 2011 13:00
- Location: West bank, West bank
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Economic News,Energy
- Reuters ID: LVAEIOCPPE8UDF0QIFOTC7F3LOCE
- Story Text: The Palestinian Authority has unveiled a new water treatment project in Jericho, which aims to restore thousands of gallons of brackish underground water and waste water each day for agricultural use.
The project includes the construction of a sewage treatment plant and a wastewater collection system in the Palestinian area of the Jordan River valley.
The Japanese representative in the Palestinian Authority Naofumi Hashimoto signed an agreement with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to provide 32 million U.S. dollars for the water treatment project.
"We are thankful to the Japanese government, through its representative in the Palestinian Authority Mr. Hashimoto, for this agreement which we signed, to the value of 32 million U.S. dollars, in order to implement the waste water treatment project in Jericho," Fayyad told reporters after the signing ceremony.
The project is expected to improve the sanitation and living conditions for local Palestinian residents who have been exposed to soil and ground-water pollution caused by untreated waste water.
The projects will also contribute to Palestinian agricultural production in the area and grant access to a new water resource through reusing the treated water.
The plant will serve the Jericho Agro-Industrial Park, which will be established under the Japan-led Corridor for Peace and Prosperity initiative.
The waste water treatment process removes impurities using advanced compression evaporation to produce water for agricultural purposes.
Provision of purified water for agricultural purposes is expected to stimulate the time-honoured local date palm industry in Jericho, known as the 'City of Palms'.
Head of the Palestinian Farmers' Union Ibrahim Daiq said that mixing the purified water with saline underground water will help expand the local date palm industry.
"I think the mixing of the saline underground water with this water will give us good results, especially in expanding the cultivation of palm trees, which this area is famous for and which is economically beneficial for Palestinian farmers in the Jordan Valley area," Daiq told Reuters.
The number of date palm trees being cultivated in Palestinian areas of the Jordan Valley has grown from 3,000 in 2000 to 50,000 in 2010. Palestinian farmers were due to have planted a further 140,000 new trees by the end of 2010.
The growing of Medjoul date palms is particularly profitable. The Medjoul date, which originated in Morocco, is one of the world's most expensive varieties.
The water treatment project is expected not only to further stimulate local date production but also to create jobs using new methods to make the most of the available water.
Jericho, at 300 metres below sea level, is the world's lowest lying city, and relies for most of its water on springs and subterranean wells. Annual rainfall is between four and six inches.
The nearby Jordan River, which is heavily polluted with sewage, is in danger of drying up after decades of conflict and intense agricultural use, according to environmentalists.
In the early 1960s, the Jordan River moved 1.3 billion cubic meters of water every year from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea.
But dams, canals and pumping stations built by Israel, Jordan and Syria to divert water for crops and drinking have reduced the flow by more than 90 per cent to about 100 million cubic metres.
The river, which flows from the mountains of Lebanon along the Jordan Valley, separating Jordan, Israel and the West Bank, has been reduced to a stream by the time it reaches the Dead Sea as a result of diversion and evaporation.
Competition over shared water resources is a sensitive issue in Israel's relations with the Palestinians and other Arab neighbours, tending to fuel more conflict than cooperation.
Palestinians blame deep Israeli wells for hitting both the quantity and quality of their water supply.
In a report last year, Amnesty International accused Israel of restricting the Palestinians' access to water.
Israel rejects that charge, saying it has exceeded commitments agreed under interim peace agreements signed in 1995 to supply the Palestinians water. A World Bank report last year said that those allocations fall short of Palestinian needs.
Israeli settlers in the Jordan valley number around 7,000. They cultivate three to four times more land than that farmed by Palestinians and use 10 times as much water, the Palestinian Agriculture Minister Ismail Daiq has said.
Israel is a world leader in making water recycling an integral part of daily life.
More than 80 percent of household waste water in Israel is recycled, amounting to 400 million cubic metres a year, the Israeli Environment Ministry says.
Global warming means Israel's neighbours will increasingly need to follow its lead.
A third summer of severe drought, with rainfall at a 40-year low, is deepening the Mideast region's water crisis.
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