A desalination plant in the West Bank will improve irrigation for farmers this year.
The Palestinian village of Marj Naaja has a fifty-year-old water well that produces water too saline for drinking or irrigating most crops. Until now, the farmers in the village have had to rely on date palms as their main crop, since date palms can grow in saltier water than most plants.
With the building of a small desalination plant, farmers working more than fifty hectares of land are able to grow vegetables and other crops for sale at market. They hope to expand the area that the desalination plant serves.
Local residents are prohibited from building rainwater catchment systems or from digging new wells by the 1993 Oslo Accords. Israel pumps water from an aquifer and sells a certain amount to Palestine. Because the water from the desalination plant is not fit for drinking, Marj Naaja will still need to purchase water from Israel.
Date palm trees photo via Shutterstock