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World Bank Grants $3 Million for Gaza Water and Sanitation

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Press Release No:2011/427/MENA

Funding again helps coastal municipalities keep services going for water and sanitation to citizens

Washington, April 12, 2011 -- The World Bank today approved a grant of $3 million to the Gaza Coastal Municipalities Water Utility to fund cost overruns in the implementation of a $31 million project to improve access and delivery of water and sanitation services to people in the Gaza Strip.

The Gaza Emergency Water project (GEWP), which was approved in 2005, has suffered a number of delays due to hostilities and access restrictions on material and personnel which also resulted in an increase in project related costs.

“Despite the difficult circumstances, implementation of the GEWP has been progressing at a satisfactory rate,” said Zeyad Abu-Hassanein, Senior Water and Sanitation Specialist. “The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility is a capable service provider, trusted by both local government and the donor community. Hostilities and restrictions have created extreme burdens on the agency’s proven ability to provide continuous service and maintain development. This grant is intended to offset these difficulties.”

The grant approved today will ensure continued water and waste service delivery to the citizens of Gaza, and finance rehabilitation of water and sanitation networks -- including pumping stations, water wells and effluent treatment plants. The grant will also be used to procure the information technology necessary to manage integrated systems.

“The scarce water resources available in Gaza are further constrained by the closure regime, presenting a major humanitarian and development challenge,” said Mariam Sherman, Country Director for the West Bank and Gaza. “The development of reliable water and sanitation services has long been a central component of the World Bank’s program. If we truly want to invest in the future, we must prioritize support for local institutions to continue to manage the sector independently and efficiently.”

Contact: In West Bank and Gaza: Mary Koussa, (972) 2-2366500, mkoussa@worldbank.org In Washington: Thoko Moyo, (202) 4588517, tmoyo@worldbank.org

For more information on the World Bank Program in West Bank and Gaza, visit: www.worldbank.org/ps