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November 01, 2009

Amnesty Water Report Falsehoods #3, 4

"Palestinian consumption in the OPT is about 70 litres a day per person," Amnesty's "Troubled Waters" report claims on page 3.

Again on page 10 Amnesty discusses Palestinians' per capita use of water, stating:

Palestinians have access to an average of no more than 60-70 liters per capita per day, and some survive on much less even than this, as little as 10-20 liters per person per day.

Neither statement about Palestinian water consumption includes a source or footnote, an oddity in this heavily sourced document. But it's clear why Amnesty chose not to cite a March 22, 2009 press release from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics marking World Water Day. The PCBS completely contradicts Amnesty's claim about per capita daily water use, stating:

Data [from the Water Statistics Report 2007] shows that the quantity of water supplied for domestic use in the Palestinian Territory was 175.6 MCM in 2007, and that the daily allocation per capital of the supplied water for domestic use in the Palestinian Territory was 135.8 (liter/capita/day). It reached only 46.6 (liter/capita/day) in Tubas Governorate. (Emphasis added.)

In other words, the official Palestinian figure for water consumption is double the figure that Amnesty cites!

In another disparity between Amnesty and official Palestinian figures, Amnesty claims (page 10):

The total amount of water available to Palestinians from these various supplies [Jordan River, various aquifers, and water purchased from Israel] in recent years has been a maximum of some 170-180 MCM/Y, which reportedly fell to a mere 135 MCM in 2008, for a population of 2.3 million.

In contrast, the aforementioned Water Day PCBS press release states:

According to the Water Statistics Report 2007 the annual available water quantity in the Palestinian Territory was 335.4 MCM in 2007.

If Amnesty's figures aren't coming from official Palestinian sources, where do they originate? We will be happy to examine any theories.

See Amnesty Water Report Falsehoods 1 and 2.

Posted by TS at November 1, 2009 03:05 PM


Just double check that you aren't confusing supply with consumption.

Btselem supplies some more official Palestinian figures at

The inequality between districts as well as the loss due to leaks and theft is quite stunning.

Posted by: t34zakat at November 1, 2009 04:33 PM


Judging by the above, it looks like Amnesty refers to both supply and consumption. And they apparently get it wrong on both counts.

Posted by: Andrew at November 2, 2009 01:43 PM

I have just returned from Ramallah. I arrived on a Friday - my host told me "We got water today, the tanks are full, but we are not due water again until Tuesday - we get deliveries twice a week." I also stayed outside Ramallah - the same situation. I heard from someone from the Palestinian Water Authority: Israel gives (public) permission to sink more wells, then refuses to grant the necessary permits to carry out the work.
The implications of this? Toilets are flushed only when really necessary, washing the dishes is done as a job lot.
Don't tell me the Palestinians have sufficient water, I have lived with the restrictions.

Posted by: Stuart at November 2, 2009 02:07 PM


The issue at stake is not whether there is a water shortage in Ramallah. There is a water shortage in the entire region. This is a desert. I live in central Israel, a 20 minute drive or less from Ramallah, and I never run my dishwasher or washing machine unless it is jam packed, I do not always flush my toilet, and I collect the cold water that runs in the shower before the hot water kicks in. I then use this water for other purposes such as washing the floor or flushing the toilet.

The questions we raise here regard Amnesty's manipulation of data and information to falsely accuse Israel of stealing water from Palestinians.

Posted by: TS at November 3, 2009 07:08 AM

The Palestinian figures themselves show there is a huge difference between what they can access and what Palestinian consumers actually receive. It is the difference between supply and consumption and that difference is caused by leakage and theft.
There is also significant difference in the amount of supply available among the various Palestinain regions. A more equitable sharing could be used to improve consumption patterns, if the water actually reached the inteded consumers.
Furthermore at least part of the difference in the supply of water available to Israel and the Palestinians results from the Israeli's treatment of sewage. I can imagine that Israeli security concerns have played some part in the above, but Palestinian terror, corruption and inefficiency must also have contributed. In any case, until the above issues are addressed, any increase in 'supply' from the acquifers will only cause further enviromental damage. The Amnesty report is useless in addressing the real issues.

Posted by: t34zakat at November 3, 2009 08:23 AM

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