Gaza farmers face hard season amid severe water shortage

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The Gaza Strip faces a tough season since the water resources dried up due to the severe shortage of ground water and the lack of rain this winter, which is expected to result in big losses to Gaza's farmers, experts and farmers in Gaza said Sunday.

Jabber Qudeih, a Palestinian farmer from southern Gaza Strip, said that his citrus won't be fruitful this year due to the lack of rain. Mahmoud Abu Ali, another farmer cultivating wheat from the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, complained that this year his crops didn't grow more than ten centimeters.

"Salt in the soil of my land are getting more and more, because I have to irrigate it with salty water all this season. It badly damaged the wheat this year," said Abu Ali, adding that "when there is rain, the water usually washes the land and clarifies it. "

The Palestinian officials also complained the growing water crisis in the Gaza Strip as various factors, "mainly the Israel's overuse of water and the population increase, 3.5 percent per year as well as the gradual drop of rain water."

The main water resources in the coastal enclave mainly depends on the groundwater that is shared between the Gaza Strip and Israel. According to water experts, Israel has been placing huge water pumps near the borders with the enclave and pumping out most of its water.

Reyad Jneina, a Gaza-based water expert told Xinhua that the Gaza Strip had witnessed a real water crisis this year for several reasons, mainly because there are no new resources or alternatives except the groundwater."

He indicated that this winter still seems to be dry and groundwater consumption will increase, "mainly for houses and irritation of farms and lands. "Due to the rainfall shortage in the past several year and no increase of the reserved groundwater in the Gaza Strip, there are a shortage of 60 million cubic meters, it is serious warning of this shortage if the rain comes late," said Jneina.

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