In the Gaza Strip the coastal aquifer, recharged mainly by rainfall, is the only and most precious water source for more than 2 million people.
Since 2000, due to the high demand, the quantity of extracted groundwater is exceeding the aquifer recharge rate, resulting on a continuous falling in the groundwater level. According to the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA), more than 200 million cubic meters were extracted from the aquifer during 2017, three times more than the aquifer can afford, for domestic and agricultural purposes, leading to a severe deterioration of aquifer.
Besides that, the damage of the aquifer is also increasing due to a large enhance of saltwater intrusion from the Mediterranean Sea onto the aquifer. In addition, groundwater pollution by nitrates is rising rapidly due to wastewater leakage, sewage sludge, animal manure and N-fertilizers. The level of salinity and nitrates found in the aquifer have been risen continuously over the last two decades, and nowadays, they are far in excess respect to the World Health Organization (WHO) standards. Since over, 96.2% of the pumped groundwater in the Gaza Strip does not meet the international standards.