Wastewater from Ariel Settlement Pollutes Palestinian Water Supply in Salfit
As is the case in numerous Palestinian communities within the West Bank, local spring water makes up for a vital source of their water. The location of this spring crops out along the hillside where it is captured and utilized by the local communities. This viable domestic water source has been used by Palestinians for centuries. Recently however it has become vulnerable to an upstream source of contamination. The settlement of Ariel which sits on top of the hill above the Al Matwi spring and the Palestinian towns of Salfit, Bruqin, Kafr ad Dik and Farkha now threatens the very source of water that these communities rely on for drinking purposes. Wastewater is regularly taken away from the settlement of Ariel via a pipeline. However in April of 2006 heavy rain caused the wastewater to overflow which inevitably polluted the spring downstream since there is no catchment basin. Residents from the city of Salfit, which is located three miles from the Al Matwi spring say that Ariel, the largest settlement in the West Bank, routinely discharges wastewater in an inappropriate manner. This has not only created an environmental hazard but has adversely affected the health of these Palestinian communities. In particular the residents of Bruqin have been especially vulnerable to the contaminated source. They claim that the nearby Israeli Barkan industrial area contributes industrial wastewater as well. The local council of Bruqin has started to advocate to the international community and local organizations in order to try and bring an end to such a reprehensible health hazard.
This contaminated water source is a major contributor to the health problems faced by the local population. It also continues to negatively impact the local agriculture and the environment in the immediate vicinity.