The Arab region is believed to be one of the driest in the world– 70% of the land is dry and rainfall is sparse and the effects of climate change will only exacerbate the situation. As today is World Water Day, as well as highlighting the problems the region faces, here at Green Prophet we also want to celebrate the success stories of the region.
The planners behind Palestine’s first planned and green city called Rawabi (or ‘Hills’ in Arabic) have recently given the go-ahead for a feasibility study for a new regional wastewater facility which strengthens their commitment preserving water.
Despite initial reservations about the projects lack of solid waste and wastewater management, the recent announcement has gone someway toward alleviating environmentalists’ concerns. The feasibility study will help plan for a wastewater treatment plant for the city and will also be “instrumental in identifying permanent solutions for the treatment of wastewater in a regional context.”
Improving Water Conservation Facilities
Wastewater is complex issue in Palestine due to the Israeli-Palestine conflict which hinders effective co-operation between the two nations. Inadequate waste water treatment plants in the Palestinian territories means that only 22.5 million cubic metres out of around 150 million cubic metres of raw sewage created every year is adequately treated to make it safe for reuse. Most of the raw sewage is contained in septic tanks- some of which are not adequately enforced which can lead to the contamination of Palestinian and Israeli ground water supplies.
Bashar Masri, Managing Director of Bayti Real Estate Investment Company behind the Rawabi project stated, “Palestine’s particular political and economic situation has weakened the already fragile environment. Rawabi’s goal is to reverse that decline by nurturing the environment through responsible management, which includes re-planting Palestine’s vanishing tree resources, using non-reclaimable materials wisely, and doing everything within our means to conserve water.”
Growing Trees and Tackling Food Security
Masri added, “Palestinian food security is a huge issue which garners too little attention. One of our objectives is to bolster the work of small farmers from the nearby towns, who will in turn supply the strong market demand for fresh baladi produce from residents of Rawabi and the surrounding areas. We know that if farmers have more water, they can plant a wider range of crops over a longer growing season.”
Rawabi has also launched a GROW for a Greener Palestine initiative which is working to plant trees and encourage young Palestinians’ to embrace nature by working with environmental experts to plant trees. The project is also teaching the youth about the value of trees due to their ability to stop soil erosion, conserve Palestine’s scarce water resources and encourage rainfall.
Together the two projects can play an important role in establishing Rawabi as an example of a green and sustainable city to be emulated in the whole of Palestine.
:: Image via Rawabi website.
For more on Palestine’s Greenest City see: