The main purpose of endorsing laws and legislations in general is to preserve the rights and powers of their endorsers and users. This requires considerable institutional and social efforts to achieve the objectives, for which the laws were laid. This thesis studies the implementation of the new Palestinian Water Law 2014, which covers water sector reform regulations and procedures, specifies mandates of stakeholders and institutions, regulates relation between the stakeholders active in the water sector.
The main objective of this study is to assess the implementation of the new Palestinian water law issued by presidential decree (June, 2014), which was endorsed in 2014 by a decision of the Cabinet of Ministers. The Palestinian Water Authority played the main role in preparing the law in consultation with other stakeholders including the Ministry of Agriculture, Environmental Quality Authority ... etc.The study dealt with two main aspects related to the law. The first aspect deals with the prospects of implementing the law. The second is the challenges thatmight be faced during the implementation of the law. In view of two sides, it is necessary to build an organizational framework that includes all governmental, non-governmental and semi-governmental institutions based on the functions of each institution as determined by law.
Despite the difficulties faced during the accomplishment of the thesis, due to lack of information and cooperation from a number of the questioned and targeted institutions, the study was based mainly on information collected from stakeholders in the water sector, questionnaires, data from workshops were conducted during the period and before drafting of the law and the interviews as well as from individuals with a view of the past, present and future of the water sector. All information was then analyzed to obtain better overview for water sector in Palestine. The water sector in Palestine suffers from a clear and explicit fragmentation at all levels conflict and contradiction of stakeholder responsibilities, including un-fair allocations of the quantities of water available to the population, uncontrolled withdrawals from the sources as well as the Israeli restrictions and the control of the water sources.
As a special view in the water sector, it is necessary to adopt bylaws and resolutions that define the framework of this sector, and clarify the functions, powers and responsibilities of each stakeholder and the participant in the work of the water sector either direct or indirect. In 2014, the new water law was adopted based on an international assessment of the water sector led by the World Bank, the law preparation and the overall reform process was a participatory approach based on all concerned parties involved in the water sector. However, this law may face many difficulties and challenges in the implementation, because of the reluctance of some parties to share the powers and responsibilities, and to the limited capacities of some stakeholders, for example municipalities.
The West Bank Water Department (WBWD) supplies water in bulk to the population through the municipalities and other service providers. Regardless of the water law, and due to limited understandings, and fear of changes, some service providers, mainly local authorities are still loyal and under the Local Authorities Law from Ministry of Local Government! There is also a conflict between the work of the Ministry of Agriculture - which has the largest share of the water amount for irrigation and the Water Authority especially in reuse of treated wastewater and the amount of extraction from agricultural wells, as the quantities of extraction from wells exceeded the specified amount. And the licenses are not respected, which will be clarified later. There is also overlap in the powers between the Water Authority and the Environmental Quality Authority on the overall management of wastewater and specifications and standard. Also, there is a conflict between the parties will be addressed in the analysis section of this thesis.
Recently, the Palestinian Water Authority was given by the new water law the powers to draft regulations and bylaws. In this period, the PWA faced a real problem because it is not a ministry. The absence of the water authority from the cabinet weekly meeting is in addition causing a big gap between the Water Authority and other ministries. It is believed that if PWA will havea representative in weekly meeting, will increase PWA ability to defend its position and to present them to other ministries.
From this perspective, the importance of the study would be obvious, and would highlight the challenges that may face the implementation and why in some cases, it was not yet applied. The last section of this thesis includes suggestions and recommendations to overcome all obstacles, which were explained in the analysis and overlapping power between all relevant authorities.