Middle East: Water Supplies

House of Lords written question – answered on 14th June 2005.

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Photo of Lord Judd Lord Judd Labour

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What priority they accord assistance with water supplies in the West Bank, Gaza and Iraq; and what is their assessment of the significance of water in terms of the future stability of the region.

Photo of Baroness Amos Baroness Amos President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Lords (Privy Council Office)

The UK Government fully recognise the significance of water in the Middle East and the need for co-operation within the region over shared water sources. The joint FCO, MoD and DfID Global Conflict Prevention Pool is funding a water resource management project with Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority which will promote regional co-operation and best practice in water management. DfID is also funding a regional study on transboundary water and conflict and how international assistance can most effectively help address these issues.

DfID provides significant support towards the improvement of water supplies in the West Bank and Gaza and in Iraq. DfID assistance to the Palestinians has helped to improve water and sanitation facilities for over 9,000 people in isolated rural communities in the southern West Bank. DfID also provides advice to the Palestinian Water Authority on the management of water resources, and to the Palestinian Authority Negotiation Affairs Department on negotiations over water with the Israeli Government.

In Iraq, DfID has committed more than £70 million to infrastructure programmes in the south which are helping to improve water and other essential services for over 5 million people. DfID provided funding for a senior adviser and two water and sanitation advisers to support the Iraqi Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works in 2003 and 2004. The Government are fully aware of the importance of international watercourses to the Iraqi people. The World Bank and United States are providing advice to the Iraqi Government on this issue.

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