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European Union funds to provide better access to water in five Palestinian municipalities

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Residents in five municipalities will have better access to safe water with the construction of new water distribution networks, funded by the European Union. The Palestinian Water Authority, which will oversee the project, has now awarded all contracts for this improvement scheme, using a €4 million contribution from the European Union, provided through its PEGASE mechanism.

"The Palestinian Water Authority, as the regulator of the sector, realises that the road ahead is long; and the process is tedious, but the obstacles will be overcome with the assistance of good friends like the European Commission. The construction of the new distribution networks will help us get closer to our target of providing potable water to all communities at affordable prices," said Dr.Shaddad Atieli, the head of the PWA.

The European Commission Representative in Jerusalem, Mr. John Kjaer, said "Access to safe water is a basic and fundamental human right. Water resources are scarce in this part of the world and need to be managed effectively and efficiently. The European Union is committed to helping the Palestinian government to improve the quality of life of Palestinians, and this kind of project brings tangible and lasting results."

The networks will be built in Kufr al Deek and Beit Dajan (Nablus district) and Beit Furik and Burqin (Salfeet District). The total length of both networks is 28.1 km. A 1,500 m3 water reservoir will also be built in the Idna Municipality, in the Governorate of Hebron. The three contracts will provide safer water to 54,144 residents.

PEGASE is the main financing mechanism of the European Union, the largest donor to the Palestinians. In 2008, the European Union has committed over €67 million to support the development of infrastructure projects. The funds are part of an overall EU package that was pledged at the Paris donor conference in December 2007. The European Union's assistance programmes through PEGASE address the priority needs of the Palestinian people, as identified by the Palestinian authority.

Contact:

Abeer Awwad, Media Manager, Palestinian Water Authority, 02 242 9022

Alix de Mauny, Press and Information Manager, European Commission, 054 8024915

Haifa Siam, Press and Information Officer, European Commission, 02 541 5888