For many Gazans, getting clean water is turning into an all-consuming and increasingly challenging task.
According to Israeli police, during Hamas' savage onslaught on October 7, at least 1,400 people were killed and the militants captured over 200 prisoners. Following the attack, Israel bombarded Gaza from the air, killing around 5,000 people, according to Palestinian health officials. Additionally, Israel declared a "complete siege" on the enclave and withheld fuel, food, and water supplies that were essential.
Since then, Israel has permitted some water to enter Gaza through one of the three pipes, although experts estimate that this still only provides a small portion of the enclave's needs. Local resources provide the majority of Gaza's water, but the fuel needed to pump and treat it is quickly running out.
Some Gazans have been forced to drink contaminated, salted water due to the collapse of the water infrastructure, raising worries about a health emergency and the possibility that dehydration may cause people to start dying.
The Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) is cited in a UNICEF report from October 17 that states that water production in Gaza is currently below 5% of typical levels.
The UN reports that Gazans are currently surviving on fewer than 3 liters of water per day, which is significantly less than the 50 liters that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends as the bare minimum to cover basic needs, such as drinking, cooking, and hygiene.
"The only water people have is essentially non-potable seawater mixed with sewage," claimed Natasha Hall, a senior fellow with the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). According to the nonprofit Oxfam, some people are being made to drink from agricultural wells.