Water Theft in Judea and Samaria: A Serious Damage to the Standard of Living

 

Every year, millions of cubic meters of water are stolen throughout Judea and Samaria. Water theft damages the regular water supply, endangers the health of local residents and damages the standard of living in the region.  

​​Water theft in Judea and Samaria has become a major phenomenon, which has manifested into illegal connections to water infrastructure, illegal drillings, the illegal formation of unauthorized reservoirs and more. According to Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, more than 7.5 million cubic meters of water are stolen every year in Judea and Samaria. In addition to the water stolen from infrastructure and water pipelines, it is estimated that another 15 million cubic meters of water are stolen every year through illegal and unauthorized drilling.

 

Illegal water piping used to steal water

The water theft phenomenon has significant implications, damaging and endangering the residents of Judea and Samaria. First of all, water theft severely damages the water supply. This is particularly common during the hot summer months, where water consumption is heavy, a time when a large number of households need water simultaneously. Water theft reduces the amount of water that every resident receives, in other words, when a farmer illegally connects to the water lines to water his field, he steals water from someone else.

In addition, water theft endangers the health of the residents. In many cases water theft is used for agricultural purposes, when farmers illegally connect to water pipelines. In cases of irrigation, farmers add various fertilizers to the water, which in many cases leak into the entire water supply system. When water pressure is low, there is a risk that fertilizers will return into the water pipelines and poison clean drinking water. This has raised fears that drinking water may contain poisonous fertilizers and could harm the health of the residents.

 

Illegal water piping used to steal water

In addition to the serious health hazards and the damage to the water supply, water theft is a serious felony. Water theft is theft in all intents and purposes, which compromises infrastructure and undermines common interests. The struggle against the water theft phenomenon involves all residents in the region, and preventing water theft is an important step in improving a shared water source.