The World Bank has expressed deep concern over the deteriorating clean water shortage in the Gaza Strip, saying only 10 percent of Palestinians in the area have access to drinking water.

“So much water has been pumped out of the natural aquifer underneath Gaza since the late 1990s that seawater has seeped in, making it too salty to drink,” said Adnan Ghosheh, a senior water and sanitation specialist with the international financial institution, on Wednesday.

“There are some 150 operators who provide some kind of desalinated water that has been filtered to make it acceptable for drinking and cooking. It’s more expensive and not an improved source of water according to our definitions of water clean enough to drink,” he added.

He also emphasized that the World Bank’s priority is to provide secure water and improve wastewater management.

“We have a wastewater treatment project in North Gaza. It started as an emergency response project, but is currently working on a long-term solution, where the treated water will be used for irrigation, saving potable water for drinking and other uses,” he noted.

Gaza has been under an Israeli siege since 2007. The blockade has led to severe conditions of living, including poverty and unemployment.

Israel waged its latest war on the Gaza Strip over 2 years ago. The aggression took 50 days and killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children.

Over 11,100 others, including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people, were also injured in the aggression.