The Water and Soil Environmental Research Unit (WSERU) serves the Palestinian people, represented by the Palestinian Authority (PA). The principal recipient of data, interpretation, and recommendations derived from our research, funded by Ireland Aid, is the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA), and secondarily, the local municipalities and village councils.
The commitment of Bethlehem University to the needs of the local Palestinian community is part of its founding statement. Particular needs were identified following an extensive socio-economic survey conducted by Bethlehem University during the late 1980s, on which the University’s outreach program was based. The Water and Soil Environmental Research Unit (WSERU) is part of this outreach program and was established in 1988 by the Chemistry Department. WSERU has been able to respond effectively to requests from a large number of municipal authorities for help and information on water quality issues. WSERU has set up an ongoing database on the water quality of the West Bank and Gaza. The unit has also developed a program for water and soil analysis for our graduates and others for whom such techniques are valuable in their careers.
A comprehensive survey of the water quality of springs, wells, surface, and network water was conducted during the early 1990s and was funded by the Ford Foundation. Subsequent research, concentrating on the Southern West Bank, has been funded by Irish Development Aid.
The West Bank is an area of water stress, so WSERU’s concern is with water quantity as well as water quality. WSERU cooperates fully with the Palestinian Water Authority, and also works with relevant international and local NGOs as well as academic and professional institutions, as we provide data and make recommendations to the appropriate agencies.