In 70 CE the Romans set up ‘Flavia Neapolis’ here, which Arabs would later pronounce ‘Nablus’. Nablus is a hotbed of Palestinian activism, and its streets are lined with posters of its martyrs. The atmosphere is much more tense than laid-back Jericho. Today I spoke to the council about the biggest water issues facing the city. The water situation here is dire, with regular water shortages in summer and only 2/3 of the water that enters the network making it out the other end to the customer. Few pay for their water, especially the refugee camp in the city which makes up 30% of its population. This means there isn’t enough money to upgrade the system’s infrastructure, to educate the citizens about smart water use or to enforce payment. The highest domestic users are wealthy residents who use water liberally on their gardens. An effective tariff structure would help incentivise conservation, but when water resources carry no cost, they will continue to be exploited.

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