When Abu Mansour al-Dajni turns on the tap at his home in Gaza City the salty mix of groundwater and seawater that comes out is undrinkable.
“During the past two or three years it has become unbearable,” he says. “My young son had ulcers in his skin and the doctor said it was because of [washing with] the contaminated water.”
The piped supply for Gaza’s two million residents is drawn from a natural aquifer under the Strip. But it is polluted because over-pumping causes Mediterranean seawater to flood in.
And as COP26 focuses on the impact of climate change, scientists warn rising sea levels could lead to “catastrophic” contamination of Gaza’s aquifer.
“Sea level rise and over-extraction combined could have very severe consequences. Almost the whole aquifer could become contaminated with salt... making it unusable for human or other uses,” says Prof Akbar Javadi of the University of Exeter.
Meanwhile, Dajni walks to a grocery store where he spends up to £35 ($47) per month to fill a can with clean water from filtration and desalination plants in the blockaded strip.
“If the water is that bad now, what will happen after 10 years,” he asks. “How will we guarantee our children a good future?”