The Israeli Water Company Stops Supplying Water to the Town of Yatta

The Israeli Water Company Stops Supplying Water to the Town of Yatta

The Israeli Water Company (a.k.a. Makarot) has cut off the water supply to the town of Yatta in the beginning of October 2008. The company has done so under the pretext that now that the Bani Nu�eim wells has become officially operational, Yatta and other parts of the governorate of Hebron should have sufficient amounts of water which necessitates stopping the water flow from the Company. The water is expected to be re-directed to the Israeli colonies scattered on Yatta and Bani Nu�eim lands including the colony of Bani Hever.



The Makarot water line runs along Road 60 north east of the town of Yatta starting from the main entrance of the town of Bani Nu�eim. The main goal of the line is to provide the colonies in the area with water. A minor water line branches off of the main line to provide water for the town of Yatta. Israeli occupation forces, in coordination with Makarot, have cut off the Yatta line and removed completely the water gauges on the line leaving the town waterless and prone to thirst.

Photo 1: Water meter supporiting Yatta has been out of order due to Israeli Mekorot action 10 days ago


The Municipality of Yatta depends on 3 sources to secure water to its inhabitants:

1.     The Makarot Water Line which provides the town with 10 m3 per hour in case water is pumped in it. Makarot claims that it pumps what amounts to 40 m3 per hour to the town. In a visit carried out by the Land Research Center (LRC) team, it was found that in a 10-day period the town has received 320 m3 on an average of 32 m3 per day !! The water gauge was found motionless which meant that the water was not flowing in the system towards Yatta.

2.     The new source from the Bani Nuâ��eim wells which were inaugurated in the beginning of October of 2008. The official share of the town of Yatta was 600 m3 per day. The Municipality objected to that share as it covers only a minuscule portion of the actual needs of the town. As such, the townâ��s share was upgraded to 1500 m3 per day. The deficit is still, however, standing.

3.     The old source of water which is Al Rihiyya well. It is a water spring in the nearby village of Al Rihiyya. However, the pumps in this well havenâ��t been operational for the past two weeks for technical reasons.   

Cutting off the water flow into Yatta by Makarot has caused a real crisis in the town. The of town of Yatta is considered to be the most affected town in the southern parts of the West Bank due to Israeli water policies which diverts water resources to meet the water needs of the Israeli colonists on the expense of Palestinian masses. The dependency of the residents of Yatta on agriculture and herding served only to magnify the problem. Also, the fact that the area was hit with severe drought for the past two years has led to massive losses in the agriculture and herding sectors due to the increase in the prices of water.


Thirst in the Schools:

While in Yatta, the LRC team was able to see the receipts and reservations the residents have made at the Municipality on the hope of getting water in the near future. The price of 10 m3 of water in Yatta has reached NIS 120 which added additional financial burdens on the shoulders of the residents. If the water was to flow in the network, it would have cost the residents only NIS 5. The problem is further complicated by the fact that the Municipality of Yatta has only one water tanker used to transport water. Additional water sources are continuously sought after which delays the water delivery to up to two weeks after the reservation was made. The Municipality has appealed, through the LRC, to all official organizations to work to help the Municipality in the purchase of another water tanker in an effort to solve, even partially, the water crisis in the town.


Photo 2: An agricultural tractor hauling water to the town of Yatta


Yet, it seems that one of the main symptoms of the crisis that LRC team touched in Yatta was the fact that a number of schools (including the Banat Shuhada Yatta) did not have water for its students for the past year !!!!; these school depend on purchasing tankered water for its students. The fact that the Municipality has only one water tanker does not contribute to solving the thirst problem faced by these schools.


Photo 3: The only water tanker owned by the Yatta Municipality


It is worthy to note that a number of Yatta residents privately own water tankers used to deliver water to Yattans. However, the Municipality cannot control where the water they deliver is coming from and it cannot control the prices these entrepreneurs charge the residents.


Killing for the Sake of a Drop of Water:

After the Makarot Company suspended delivery of water to Yatta without any prior coordination or notification with Yatta Municipality, a group of Israeli colonists entered the room of the gauges located at the Bani Nu�eim intersection. They disconnected and stole the gauges, leaving tens of thousand of Yattans thirsty. The situation became unbearable to the degree that Mr. Mohammad Abu Eilayyan, a maintenance worker at the Yatta Municipality, took a calculated risk and went at night to the room to try and re-connect his town to the water source. However, Israeli occupation soldiers spotted him, physically beat him, cursed him, prevented him from reconnecting the pipes and even punctured the tires of the Yatta Municipality pickup that he was riding.


In a related incident, Mr. Abu Eilayyan indicated that he was once informed by a Makarot official to head to the gauges room to reconnect the water pipes severed by Israeli colonist. Upon arrival, he found that the room was welded shut. After a short while he was confronted by a number of armed colonists who threatened him and forced him to leave the place without reconnecting Yatta to the water pipeline.   





The residents of Yatta, through their municipality, have appealed for three main things; the restoration of water to their town, the purchase of an additional water tanker to be used by the municipality to transport water to the residents in addition to stopping the attacks by colonists against municipality workers trying to provide water to their town.


Yatta: General Information

The town of Yatta (population: 65,000) is located south of the city of Hebron. It is infested with Israeli colonies as 10 such big colonies were constructed on its lands not to mention the outposts, Israeli occupation posts and camps. It seems plausible to suggest that the prevention of water arriving to Yatta is deliberately carried out for the benefit of the 300 colonists living in the colony of Bani Hever on the expenses of the 65,000 thirsty Yattans.   






Prepared by:
The Land Research Center




Categories: Closure