The geographical and political conditions plus climate change mean that Palestine is struggling with limited access to water, in both everyday life and agriculture.
With thehelp of Polish Aid funds, the Polish Center for International Aid Foundation (PCPM) has been able to extend support to the inhabitants of the West Bank. Conventional and unconventional irrigation systems are being built in collaboration with a local partner, the Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem (ARIJ).
Underground irrigation system
Forty-two families from Anza in the district of Hebron and from Al Arroub in the district of Jenin, as well as an agricultural cooperative in Anza (approx. 250 people) benefit from innovative underground irrigation systems which use reclaimed waste water. Research has shown that compared with traditional irrigation, the method makes it possible to obtain a threefold increase in crops productivity. The systems supply water to grape, nut, almond, pomegranate and olive trees, saffron, luffa and alfalfa. By reducing the cost of irrigation and at the same time boosting productivity, farmers-beneficiaries can increase income from the sale of crops.
Through Polish Aid, farmers have been trained in the safe use of treated waste water, crops management, disease control, and marketing. They have also received the necessary equipment — alfalfa harvesting tools and special ploughs.
Sewage treatment plant in the village of Anza
With funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the PCPM has also equipped the local sewage treatment plant in the village of Anza with a system of 42 kWh solar panels. It has reduced the cost of electricity consumption to zero and saved approx. NIS 13,000 (about PLN 14,300) over several months. Furthermore, additional equipment has been purchased for the plant: main water filter, underwater pump, water rotating water device, and others.
Home vegetable gardens in the village of Beit Ula
In the village of Beit Ula, north-east of Hebron, 40 women who keep home gardens have received support from the Polish project. Conventional above-ground drip irrigation systems were set up in the vegetable gardens. This is where Palestinian women grow aubergines, tomatoes, peppers, beans and other vegetables, which they partly use for their own needs and sell the rest in a local market created as part of the project. The installed irrigation systems allow more economical water consumption and, at the same time, increased sales of vegetables, which in consequence, would lead to higher income from the gardens. Farming is often the only culturally acceptable form of female employment.
The material has been prepared by Anna Radecka, coordinator of the project titled “Optimising conventional and unconventional irrigation for rural development and activation of women and young people in Palestine” on behalf of the PCPM.