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Palestinian Farmers Push for Control of Water

Water is life. Unfortunately, it is increasingly used as a weapon. And it can be a deadly one when political conflict meets drought.

For decades the Israeli government has had varying degrees of legal and coercive control over the Palestinian water supply. Eighty-five percent of Palestinian water resources are controlled by Israelis and all-too-often, wells and other agricultural projects are demolished or confiscated.

The result is a gaping inequity: Israelis have swimming pools, and Palestinians can barely survive.

The average Israeli uses 300 liters of water per day, but Palestinians are limited by bureaucracy and lack of access to 30-70 liters – and the World Health Organization recommends a minimum 100 liters per day.

But Palestinian communities and farmers continue to work for control of their own resources, for the right to life-sustaining water – on their own terms. And they’re far from alone. For example, our partner the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) has drilled over 357 agricultural wells, established four concrete earthen ponds for harvesting water, built four new water tanks to irrigate crops and linked communities and farmland with over 38 miles of pipes.

It is also worth noting that UAWC received the 2015 US Food Sovereignty Prize, as well as the Arab Creativity Award and the United Nation’s Equator Prize in recognition of their impactful work for land reclamation, water management and agricultural development.

Water is essential to life, yet more and more communities are being stripped of their water rights every day. From Brazil to Palestine to India to the US, water resources are being privatized and sold off to the highest bidder while communities are left thirsty and unable to maintain their crops. And governments, fueled by greed (or desperation), are failing to protect these vital resources.

Fortunately, your support for Grassroots International is supporting communities as they come together to protect their common resources and demand their human right to water. From Palestine to Haiti to the Amazon, Grassroots partners continue to work to defend the resources they need to thrive and survive.

Thank you for standing with us to advance a principle at the very heart of climate justice: rights to land, water, and food for all.