HEBRON (Ma’an) — Residents in Hebron are threatening to hold sit-ins in front of the city’s water wells and outside the Prime Minister’s office in Ramallah if the water situation does not improve.

Locals demanded that Prime Minister Salam Fayyad dismisses Shaddad Al-Attili, head of the Palestinian Water Authority, for failing to commit to pledges he made to improve the water supply in the city, which has a population of 220,000.

Amin Al-Ja’bari, head of a committee to support Hebron’s Old City, said rallies and sit –ins would be held because residents “want water to drink,” adding that the water shortage in Hebron was due to a malfunction that the PWA had failed to solve.

Al-Ja’bari appealed to Fayyad to provide the municipality with small tanks of water which can be delivered to residents of the Old City, rather than large tanks.

Fatah Secretary General in Hebron Muhammad Kifah Al-Owaiwi called on the Ministry of Local Governance to form a investigative committee into the lack of water in the city.

Responding to calls to dismiss him, Shadad Al-Attili said “If I were the reason, it is up to the Prime Minister and President to dismiss me. We in the water authority have made efforts to provide water to residents; it is up to the Municipalities to distribute this water to residents.”

Al-Attili said theft of water is an ongoing problem in Hebron, noting that 2,000 cubic meters was stolen between Halhul and Sa’ir villages. He added that the issue is being handled by the Ministry of Local Governance.

The Water Authority official said penalties imposed on residents who steal water are ineffective, and complained that many were released on bail. He said the authority would continue its campaign, coordinating with security departments, to prevent violations of water pipe lines.

The authority has fixed one of the wells in Hebron, which will produce 6,000 cubic meters per day and improve the district’s water situation, Al-Attilli said.