Israel's per capita usage of fresh water, meanwhile, has gone down steadily, thanks to desalination plants and an aggressive waste-water reuse policy. Some 80 percent of all waste water is recycled in Israel, more than double the rate of any other country.
The shortage of water is draining the lifeblood of a key sector of the Palestinian economy: agriculture. A 2009 World Bank report estimated that the sector – the third largest in the West Bank – misses out on 96,000 jobs and $410 million in yearly revenues because of the lack of irrigated agriculture.
"I don't think development of the agricultural system could happen without an increase in the amount of water [from 1995 allocations]," says Minister of Agriculture Walid Assaf.
The exact amount of water Palestinians use each year is difficult to pinpoint: While well levels are monitored, there is not a comprehensive system in place to measure water usage.
But how much Israel provides is carefully tracked, and it amounts to more water than Israel is required to provide under the Oslo Accords. In addition, Israelis argue that Palestinians would have plenty of water if they managed it better, fixed leaky pipes, halted theft of water and illegal wells, priced water more appropriately, and implemented the many projects that have already been approved.