Restore Safe Water and Sanitation Access in The Dispute Area

23 November 2023

Having access to clean drinking water and sanitation services is a serious issue everywhere in the world. For hundreds of millions of people who live in areas impacted by violence or armed conflict, the situation has gotten worse. Such as Russia’s war in Ukraine and Israeli attacks against Palestinian water resources in the West Bank.

In Russia’s war in Ukraine, the infrastructure for the nation's water and sanitation systems has been completely destroyed by attacks on water supplies by both sides. Water supply and treatment systems used by civilians have been subjected to collateral damage, used as weapons in deliberate attacks, and put under pressure due to significant population movements.

Then, as hostilities have escalated beginning October 7, 2023, the humanitarian situation in Gaza has substantially worsened. The 2.3 million people who live in the Gaza Strip—of whom half are children—are currently struggling to meet their basic demands for water, sanitation, and hygiene. Some were compelled to start drilling wells near the sea in order to obtain drinking water, or they were depending on the saline tap water from Gaza's sole aquifer, which is tainted with sewage and saltwater. In addition, a blockade on the fuel that powers power plants result in the severe restriction or cessation of water and power supplies. In the north, water trucking—the practice of delivering water in lorries—has either completely ceased or is significantly hindered.

Since it is commonly known that having access to clean, affordable, and safe drinking water as well as sanitation services is a fundamental human right, Water Stewardship Indonesia (WSI) is calling and urge for an immediate halt to attacks and the urge to implementation of several measures, to guarantee that everyone, especially women and children, is protected in conflict areas and has access to enough clean water. The parties involved in the conflict, as well as world leaders and the humanitarian community at large, have an obligation to immediately cease hostilities, restore water supplies, and abide by international humanitarian law, which requires the protection of civilians and the preservation of infrastructure, particularly that pertaining to water and sanitation, which is vital to their survival.