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TRANS-BOUNDARY WATER - Protecting trans-boundary groundwater sources from pollution: research, training and guidelines for Israeli and Palestinian municipalities

LIFE06 TCY/IL/000240

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Gidon Bromberg
Tel: +972 3 560 5383
Fax: +972 3 560 4693

Project description:


One of the most significant water resources for Palestinians and Israelis alike is the shared groundwater systems of the coastal and mountain aquifers. Population growth and economic development, combined with natural water scarcity in the region, have led to significant stresses on this water resource.

One of the primary factors that threaten the sustainability of groundwater in the region is pollution from above-ground sources, including domestic sewage, solid waste, industrial activity and agricultural practices.

The Coastal Aquifer has been subject to industrial pollution, leading to closure of some wells in Israel. Unsustainable management practices have acutely worsened the water in the aquifer in the Gaza Strip as well. Regarding the Mountain Aquifer, pollution by sewage has rendered the water of many natural springs undrinkable. Results from monitoring in recent years indicate clearly that pollution has already intruded groundwater in deep wells as well.

The future of the already scarce water resources of Israelis and Palestinians is thus under severe threat. The local municipalities should develop their capacities in order to reduce the main sources of groundwater pollution .


The Trans-Boundary Water project’s overall objective was the reduction of groundwater pollution in Israeli and Palestinian municipalities. To achieve this, it identified five key objectives to be achieved during the project. These were to: 1. Research sources of groundwater pollution from anthropogenic activity in Israeli and Palestinian municipalities. 2. Establish guidelines for monitoring, managing, and reducing sources of groundwater pollution in Israeli and Palestinian municipalities. 3. Strengthen technical know-how and build a network of Israeli and Palestinian water practitioners at municipal level. 4. Planning and conducting joint study tours for Israeli and Palestinian water practitioners, with emphasis on the interconnectedness of the water resources. 5. Create commitment within Israeli and Palestinian municipalities to improve their environmental performance.


The Trans-Boundary Water project succeeded in developing capacity and enthusiasm for implementing improved water management in demonstration municipalities in both Israel and Palestine.

The project carried out research into the sources of groundwater pollution in both Israel and Palestine through case studies of two municipalities,one in each area. It examined anthropogenic activities, producing a wide and comprehensive set of new hydrological data. It also looked at the institutional and infrastructural factors that could impede or help groundwater resources.

The beneficiary was able to produce a set of good quality guidelines on the monitoring, management and alleviation of sources of groundwater pollution in each of the two case study areas. The guidelines provide recommendations which can be useful in other areas facing similar challenges; the beneficiary reports interest from other municipalities in this regard. The guidelines have been produced in Hebrew and in Arabic with an English executive summary and disseminated to the contacts of the beneficiary.

To strengthen the technical know-how of water practitioners in the project region, four courses were held on the topics of:

  • Sewage treatment technologies for urban and rural settings;
  • Sewage treatment management, including infrastructure planning, financing mechanisms and legal obligations;

  • Use of GIS to create datasets from monitored pollution sources; and
  • Use of the project’s guidelines.

Municipality officials clearly increased their capacities and motivations to manage water treatment through these courses, two study tours to the case study municipalities and two conferences. These involved a total of 90 different municipal staff members. A particular benefit was the creation of capacity to use GIS as a water management tool. In each municipality, 100 pollution hazards were identified and prioritised in this way. The GIS course - which received accreditation by the Israeli Ministry of Education - will even be repeated following high demand.

A further significant achievement of the project was the push it gave to the recreation of the Environment Committee in the Israeli case study area of Um el Fahem. The Palestinian case study municipality of Tul Karem is also working on enhancing its local infrastructure as a result of the guidelines’ recommendations.

In addition to the exchanges of experience during the study tours and the fourth course, the development of a network of water practitioners from Israel and Palestine will need further efforts,as will transfering and disseminating the project’s results to new municipalities and authorities in the region.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Water - Water resources protection


international river basin‚  water resources management‚  environmental training‚  local authority

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator EcoPeace / Friends of the Earth Middle East
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) is an NGO that brings together Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli environmentalists with the primary objective of promoting cooperative efforts to protect their shared environmental heritage.
Partners House of Water and Environment (HWE), Palestinian Authority


Project reference LIFE06 TCY/IL/000240
Duration 01-JAN-2007 to 31-DEC -2008
Total budget 399,060.00 €
EU contribution 279,342.00 €
Project location Mediterr. Gaza strip (GA)(Gaza strip & West Bank) Mediterr. Israel (IL)(Israel)


Read more:

Leaflet Project's brochure (HEB)(755 KB)
Project web site Project's website (EN)
Publication: Case study "Pro-Aquifer Protecting Trans-boundary Groundwater ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Protecting Trans-boundary Groundwater Sources fro ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual Guidelines (Full version) (HEB) (1.6 MB)
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Pro-Aquifer Protecting Trans-boundary Groundwater ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Pro-Aquifer Protecting Trans-boundary Groundwater ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report (Hebrew)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (EN)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (Arabic)


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version