WASHINGTON, April 22, 2015 – Sewage from the Hebron Governorate runs untreated through populated areas causing a substantial damage to the aquifer and the health of the residents. The US$4.5 million grant for the first phase of the Hebron Regional Wastewater Management Project, approved today by the World Bank Group Board of Directors, will finance a treatment plant and reduce environmental pollution from wastewater produced in the Hebron Municipality.
“Hebron Governorate is one of the largest governorates in the West Bank in terms of area, population, and agricultural land and Hebron city is an important economic center.The wastewater pollution is a pressing environmental and public health hazard that the project aims to address,” said Steen Lau Jorgensen, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza.
The environmental damage caused by the untreated wastewater has been a serious challenge for many years as the sewage affects the communities living alongside the sewage stream in Wadi As-Samen and pollutes the eastern aquifer which is used as a supply of potable water for the southern West Bank. Therefore, the first phase of the project will finance a regional wastewater treatment plant with the capacity to treat the existing sewage stream from Hebron Municipality, and will further develop the plans and designs for a comprehensive integrated regional solution for wastewater management and reuse in the Hebron Governorate.
The next phases will finance the development of irrigated agriculture with treated wastewater and further expand the wastewater treatment capacity. The total estimated costs of the first phase are US$62 million, financed by a consortium of international development partners as well the Palestinian Authority and Hebron Municipality.
The project will benefit the 104,000 residents of Palestinian communities living along Wadi As-Samen as well as the 900,000 people in the Bethlehem and Hebron Governorates who obtain their water supplies from the eastern aquifer.
“This project is the first and essential step to reduce the environmental pollution from untreated sewage in the Hebron Governorate”, said Pieter David Meerbach, World Bank Senior Water Resources Specialist and team leader of the project. “The project will generate significant benefits. The Palestinians cope with one of the lowest levels of per capita water resource availability in the region. The project will increase this water availability, since a large quantity of treated wastewater will become available for beneficial use in agriculture or for industrial purposes.”