Water sustains life and affects all aspects of life. Even though the earth's surface is 97 per cent water, the majority of this water is salt water, unsuitable for human consumption and other needs. Freshwater, or water suitable for use, makes up only 25 per cent of the water on the earth. Statistically the situation seems bleak, for only 1/3 of this freshwater is available, the rest is in the form of glaciers. Of this third, 66 per cent of the water is lost to evaporation. Then, of the third left, only 80 per cent is accessible, and of which 75 per cent of it is lost to floods. The conclusion of this statistical study shows that there is only 12,400km3 of freshwater available on this earth for human consumption and use; the renewable supply is less that 1 per cent of 1 per cent.(1)
This is very important for countries because population is growing while water is depleting; which can only result in the competition for water. These conflicts have been predicted by many scholars over the past years and they have been termed "water wars"; the belief is that the competition for this natural resource will result in war among the riparians of regional basins. This paper will review one specific area of potential conflict, the Palestinian- Israeli-Jordanian competition for the waters of the Jordan River Basin, and conclude with a list of proposals which will help this dispute and other water issue in the region. An attempt at alleviating the water shortage between these three riparians will be an act of preventive diplomacy, for in this area, the water issue, as much as the land issue, can cause tensions. King Hussein of Jordan commented, in 1990, that water was the only issue that could take him to war with Israel.(2) Since then, however, the situation has improved and the prospect of war has lessened. The region though, still needs definitive action in resolving the water shortage, if not for the short term, but for the long run sustainability.
Water scarcity in the Arab region is not a new phenomenon. Generally, rainfall in this area is unpredictable and very low, resulting in a very arid climate. Demand for water has been met through drilling and pumping for underground water, desalination, and building dams on surface waters. Currently, however, the Arab world has exhausted most of its water sources, and therefore finding new water and developing large supplies at average cost is not likely.(3) The two largest river systems in the Arab world come from outside of the region, the Nile originating in Ethiopia and the Tigris and Euphrates originating in Turkey; this does not allow as much control by the riparians and therefore may also limit the water flow in the future. Along with this, many ancient aquifers are being mined to extract as much water out of them, leaving them empty and irreplacable for descendants.
While the water quantity is depleting, the demand for water in the region is growing rapidly. The rising population in the region is the number one cause; doubling in twenty-five years is a formidable rate of growth. This growing population is also achieving higher living standards, which also raises the demand on water per person.(4) Most Middle East states only provide less than 500 cubic meters/person/year, classifying these states with a water scarcity problem; while developed states like the U.S. provide 1700 cm/person/year, an amount considered needed for survival.(5) Therefore, in a region of depleting water sources, the growing population and urbanization increase demand, producing competition for access to water by the riparians. What is needed is a revised management of the supply and demand of water in the region, or, the competition may lead to violent confrontations in the Middle East.
This paper will provide a case study of one river basin with three main riparians, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestine National Authority. This case is a prime example of the problem discussed above. The study of this case will illustrate the problems and analyze what action must be taken by the states, the region, and the international community in solving the water conflict. Alleviating the problems and suffering of the people in the region are of utmost importance. The water issue surrounding the Jordan River Basin is actually twofold, 1) the distribution of water between Jordan and Israel and 2) water distribution within Israel in regards to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Addressing the water issue and allocating fair resources to riparians may provide, therefore, an opening to peace.
Hydrography of the Jordan River Basin
The Jordan River originates on the border of three countries, Israel, Lebanon, and Syria, in a mountainous region. Three springs converge to make up the northern headwaters of the Jordan: 1) the Hasbani River, which rises in south Lebanon and with an average annual flow of 125 million cubic meters (mcm)/yr, 2) the Dan River, in Israel averaging 250 mcm/yr, and 3) the Banais River from the Golan Heights, averaging also 125 mcm/yr.(6) These streams converge six kilometers within Israel and flow south to the Sea of Galilee, wholly within Israel. Ten kilometers below the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River is joined by the Yarmuk River (originating in Syria and Jordan), and adds on average, 400 mcm/yr to the flow of the Jordan River. For the rest of the southern flow (320 km) to the Dead Sea, the Jordan is joined by springflow and intermittent tributaries especially along the West Bank. The final flow of the Jordan River, when it reaches the Dead Sea at 400 meters below sea level, is on average 1,470 mcm/yr.(7) The Jordan River is considerably smaller when compared to the Nile, with a flow of 74,000 mcm/yr, or the Euphrates at 32000 mcm/yr.
The Jordan River has a salinity problem throughout most of its flow. This is because many springs that join the river have to pass through salty remains of ancient seas to reach the Jordan, which flows below sea level. The south tip of the Sea of Galilee has the salinity of 340 parts per million (ppm), while an average river would have 120 ppm. The Yarmuk river, with a 100 ppm, dilutes the river somewhat, but as the Jordan continues it flow downstream, it picks up salinity. At the end, the Dead Sea has a salinity of 250,000 ppm, seven times that of the ocean.(8)
The Jordan River travels through two very different regions, a Mediterranean subtropical climate in the north, and arid desert conditions in the south. The rainfall pattern varies over time, but generally decreasing from north to south and west to east. 75 per cent of the rainfall comes in the four winter months, with annual variations between 25-40 per cent. For this reason, the numbers above are listed as annual averages because the stream flow has great fluctuations.(9)
The previous description was of the surface water which made up the Jordan River Basin. The following is a description of the groundwater, or the aquifers, that supply the West Bank, Israel, and Jordan with important sources of water. Aquifers are a great source of water for the region. They are formed when rain falls on the mountain ridges on either bank of the Jordan, and instead of evaporating or running off, they soak down to the water-table and then flow slowly laterally through the pores and cracks of the underlying rock layers. An aquifer s utility is measured by its "safe yield", or amount that can be pumped out without affecting the water left in storage; the "safe yield" is usually equal to the recharge rate.(10) As mentioned before though, aquifers are slow, and therefore rapid removal of water can damage future use and existence.
The three main aquifers in the system are west of the Jordan, and are central to the water supply of Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They are: 1) the western, or Yarkon-Taninim or Mountain, aquifer, which flows westward to the Mediterranean through Israel with an annual recharge rate of 335 mcm/yr, 2) the northeastern aquifer, which discharges into northern Israel and yields 140 mcm/yr, and 3) the eastern aquifer, which flows east to the Jordan Valley and yields 125 mcm/yr. Two other aquifers are found in Israel and Gaza, not connected to the Jordan River, and yields 280 mcm/yr and 60 mcm/yr respectively. While within Jordan, the twelve aquifers together yield about 270 mcm/yr.(11)
The Jordan River Basin is the major source of water for Israel and Jordan, and also supports the many aquifers in both countries, extending the reliance on the River. National Uses of Water Resources The Jordan River is made up of waters from four countries and therefore with four riparians. Only two, Israel (including the West Bank and Gaza Strip) and Jordan, rely on the basin heavily. Distribution of the Jordan River Basin was decided with the Johnston Agreement of 1955. From 1950s onward, there were four proposals, one by the Israeli Government, the UN Refugee Works Agency, the first U. S. brokered Johnston plan, and finally the Arab League Plan. All varied on distribution between the four riparians, and the UN and U.S. plans also ignored Lebanon as a riparian. Eric Johnston was head of the International Council of the Authority for Technical Assistance and appointed special advisor to the region by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was during his third visit to the Middle East, in 1955, that he succeeded in convincing the Arab Countries that Israel should be included as a riparian. After negotiations it was concluded that Jordan would receive 55 per cent, Israel 36 per cent, and 9 per cent each for Syria and Lebanon.(12) The Johnston Plan, though, was never signed due to political tensions, but for the most part the countries have followed this division de facto. Since the, however Israel and Jordan have met two or three times a year at "Picnic Table Talks" where the Jordan and Yarmuk meet in order to discuss flow rates and allocations. In spite of these talks, the Plan was never ratified and unilateral development by the four riparians has carried on. Israel
Israel s renewable annual water supply averages 1600 mcm/yr, 60 per cent coming from groundwater and 40 per cent from surface waters. Almost all comes from the Jordan River Basin, about a third is taken from the Sea of Galilee, while the western aquifer supplies another third.(13) It also receives 200 mcm/yr more from waste-water reclamation and non- renewable groundwater. The total 1800 mcm/yr is divided as follows: 73 per cent to agriculture, 22 per cent to domestic use, and 5 per cent to industrial use. This water is used for irrigating 66 per cent of its cropland and supporting a population of 4.2 million with a growth rate of 1.6 per cent per year.(14)
For the 800.000 Palestinians in the West Bank, the 115 mcm/yr of water comes 90 per cent from groundwater sources. They use 90 mcm for irrigation, while the rest is domestic use. The 70,000 Israeli settlers get additional 35 mcm/yr, of which 95 per cent is put into agriculture. The Gaza Strip, on the other hand, with a population of 600,000, receives about 60 mcm/yr through the groundwater aquifer, but uses 95 mcm/yr.(15) The extra is gained through over pumping of its coastal aquifer, which results in salt water entering the wells and decreasing the water availability. Jordan
Jordan is the second major riparian of the Jordan River Basin and gets a total renewable annual water supply of 700 mcm/yr; 50 per cent of this water comes mostly from surface water, mainly the Yarmuk River. Jordan also receives another 170 mcm/yr from non- renewable groundwater. 85 per cent is allocated for agriculture, 10 per cent for domestic use, and 5 per cent for industrial use. With this, Jordan is able to irrigate 10 per cent of its cropland and provide a population of 3.3 million (with a growth rate of 3.5 per cent per year) with water.(16) Other Riparians
Lebanon and Syria are minor consumers of the basin water. Lebanon takes 35 mcm/yr from the Hasbani River, and Syria takes about 250 mcm/yr from the Yarmuk River (which is the border between Jordan and Syria). Most of Lebanon s and Syria s water supply is met by the Litani and Awali Rivers and the Euphrates and Orontes Rivers respectively. Water Development
Over the years, both Jordan and Israel developed water projects for the Basin. In 1951 Israel started draining the swamps throughout the country. These swamps caused high evaporation rates and therefore affected surface waters. The second concern for Israel was transferring water from the north to the desert and coastal plain areas of the country. After the Johnston Plan did not pass, it was decided that the National Water Carrier canal would have to rely on the Sea of Galilee. Construction of this canal began in 1953, and ended in 1964, with a series of canals, pipelines, and tunnels distributing water to the Negev Desert.
In the 1950s Jordan started developing intensive plans to find greater ways to use the Yarmuk River, including diversion of the Yarmuk to the Sea of Galilee and construction of irrigation canals down both sides of the Jordan Valley. In 1961 Jordan began operation of the East Ghor Canal, and then also built the King Talal Dam on the Zarqa River in order to store water for irrigation.(17)
The consequences of unilateral action by each riparian has been that both the aquifers and surface waters suffer from overuse use due to the large-scale diversion projects. The National Water Carrier and the East Ghor Canal almost dry out the Sea of Galilee year round. Diversion projects have also lowered the level of both the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. This has caused aquifer levels to drop and has increased their salinity levels. Both Jordan and Israel have also over pumped their fossil (nonrenewable) aquifers. On top of these projects, the population growth in both countries is raising the demand for water. Israel has attempted water conservation in agriculture, where most water is wasted, through introducing the drip irrigation system and recycling of sewage water. This has helped save water in the area while at the same time irrigating more land with less water. It does not make much impact, though, without any joint conservation. Therefore, conflict under these circumstances is highly likely, and these depleting factors have in fact led to conflicts in the past.
Past, Present, and Potential Water Conflicts
Past conflict over the Jordan River Basin includes skirmishes and a war. In 1951, states undertook unilateral plans for distribution of the water. Jordan announced an irrigation plan by tapping the Yarmuk River. Israel then closed the gates on a dam south of the Sea of Galilee and began draining the Huleh swamps. The swamps lay within the demilitarized zone and therefore caused border skirmishes between Syria and Israel.(18) Then in 1953, while negotiations were continuing on the distribution of the Jordan River Basin, Israel began construction of the National Water Carrier at the intake point at Gesher B not Ya akov, north of the Sea of Galilee within the demilitarized zone. Syria protested with military action, and after international disapproval, Israel moved the construction to Eshed Kinrot.
Diversion of the Jordan River was one of causes of the next conflict, the 1967 Six Day Arab-Israeli War. In 1964 Israel opened the National Water Carrier and began diverting 320 mcm/yr from the Jordan, while Jordan was continuing its East Ghor Project.(19) This led to the First Arab Summit of 1964 which started plans to divert the Jordan headwaters to Arab states. In 1965, the Arab States started construction on the Headwater Diversion Plan; diverting the Hasbani into the Litani in Lebanon, and the Banias into the Yarmuk to be caught for Jordan and Syria at a dam at Mukheiba. This diversion would have been a loss of 123 mcm/yr, or 35 per cent of Israel s water diversion, and would have caused the salinity rate to increase in Lake Kinneret. Emotions intensified, and Israel stated that it would fight for its waters.(20) Four times between 1965 and 1967 the Israeli army attacked the diversion construction in Syria, and these border skirmishes led to air battles twice. In June of 1967, Israel destroyed the Arab diversion construction and in six days captured the Golan Heights, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai Peninsula. This improved Israel s military position and its hydrostrategic position, because now with the Golan Heights, Israel had all of the Jordan Rivers Headwaters within its territory and made it a riparian of the Yarmuk.(21) Also, with the West Bank, Israel gained access to the length of the Jordan River and controlled the three major aquifers.
The last military confrontation among the riparians was in 1969 when Israel attacked Jordan s East Ghor Canal. In early 1969, Israeli Water Authorities measured the Yarmuk River and found it 686 mcm below average. Israel then became suspicious that Jordan was over diverting. Then, after Palestinian attacks on Israel, Israel believed Jordan was partly responsible and led two raids in June and August of 1969 and destroyed the new East Ghor Canal. Following the attack, the U.S. mediated negotiations between Israel and Jordan which led to an agreement in 1970. Israel was convinced that the drop of flow of the Jordan was natural, and Jordan agreed to follow the Johnston plan and cease Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) activity on its territory. Present conflicts
From the 1950s on, there have been disputes within the region which have yet to end in agreement or violence. Jordan and Syria agreed in 1953 to build the Maqarin dam on the Yarmuk, a plan proposed by the UNRWA, the United Nations Agency for Arab Refugees. However, it was never built due to the continued Syrian-Jordanian tensions and Israel s demands on more water from the Yarmuk.(22) Syria and Jordan, recently, came up with the plan of building a dam further below on the Yarmuk. Since Israel is a riparian of the river though, without its consent the World Bank cannot fund the project (the World Bank can only fund projects where all riparians agree).(23)
Another conflict to which there has been no solution concerns the Israeli control of the West Bank aquifers since 1967. After the Six Day War, Israel gained control of the recharge zone of the Yarkon-Taninim Aquifer, which currently supplies about 1/3 of Israel s water supply. Both this and the northeastern aquifers are exploited while demand for water increases due to the growing population of Palestinians and Jewish settlers in the region. The 1967 nationalization of all the West Bank water resources by Israel increased the tension between the Palestinians and Israelis that already existed because of the land issue. After nationalization, Israel limited Palestinian use of the water; it has since then placed limits on the amount of water that can be withdrawn by wells, and has also curtailed Palestinian drilling for wells. In the meantime, Israel continues drilling to provide for its settlers in the West Bank. Palestinians also find that during water shortages their water is shut off first before the Israeli settlement areas, and that Israel uses water as a political weapon against them.(24) There does not seem to be a viable solution to this matter because of Israel s stated reliance on the water supply of the area. Meanwhile, Palestinians argue that West Bank aquifers are solely theirs to use. The water conflict, thus, is as central to the Peace Process as is land, and water can as easily start a war.
conflict that has yet to be resolved is that of the occupation of the Golan Heights in 1967.
Israel saw the value of the Golan Heights; its provides military and hydrostrategic security.
Israel controls the headwaters of the Jordan while at the same time deterring attack by the
Syrians in the north. For these reasons, Israel is steadfast in its position, as is Syria with its
The two previous lists mark clear areas of disagreement, while future conflicts might by on a more general scale. Pollution is yet to be a major problem in this river basin, and therefore has not been addressed. The states are involved in unilateral and bilateral action without much thought for region wide water security. This can lead to conflicts over water rights. The riparians have, to this point, somewhat followed the Johnston agreement while simultaneously making either unilateral or bilateral plans in order to divert more water. Water rights in the region though have to be discussed and agreed upon, or future diversion plans can lead to more conflict.
Past, Present, and Potential Efforts for the Resolution or Prevention of Water Conflicts The most important past effort to provide the region with a fair and agreed upon diversion plan was the Johnston Plan in 1955. As already discussed above, many plans emerged, and after negotiations between the American envoy and the Arab States, allocation of the surface waters of the Jordan River Basin were based on the Johnston Plan. After all that though, the plan was never ratified by the riparians. This plan though, did not discuss the allocation of the groundwaters (aquifers), a major source of water to the riparians. Therefore, any real water rights and allocation agreement will have to include aquifer allocation for true basin-wide agreement; but in spite of no region wide management, there have been other agreements.
After the Oslo peace process began in 1992, many bilateral and multilateral discussions were held. The result was the Declaration of Principles between the Israelis and Palestinians in 1993. This Declaration laid out stages for the transfer of powers over the regions of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. One of the key elements of this was the establishment of a Continuing Committee that was to discuss cooperation in water. Since then, both parties have agreed on the legal principle of "equitable utilization," but still, there has been no agreed upon allocation, and the suffering of the Palestinians continues.(25) The multilateral discussions that took place on water in the region have focused on desalination, water waste treatment, and pollution; there is yet to be an agreement on water rights for the region.
The second agreement was in 1994 between Israel and Jordan. Israel and Jordan have clashed over water issues throughout their existence, and their relationship has always been in a state of war. This had barred any movement towards joint water management. The Israel- Jordan Peace Treaty was the first step in the right direction. The treaty ended the state of war that existed between each other, started full diplomatic relations, and agreed on the international boundary between them. Water was also discussed, with the two states agreeing on the other s right to water from the Yarmuk and Jordan Rivers, the need for a practical and just solution to the water problem, and that projects with regional and international cooperation can increase the water resources to meet their needs.(26) The two states also agreed to explore ways to help ease the water shortage through technical means and cooperation.
The latest effort by riparians was in October 1997, when it was announced that Israel had agreed to the Red-Dead Sea Canal project with Jordan.(27) Until now, the two states had their own individual plans on how to pump water into the Dead Sea. The project would raise the water level to avoid evaporation of the sea and to generate electricity which would be used for desalination. Israel s proposal was to bring water from the Mediterranean, while Jordan planned to transfer water from the Red Sea. Both states would benefit heavily from either project; it would, bring in water for agriculture, in Israel s Arava desert and Jordan s Rift Valley, at a relatively low cost, allow for beach expansion and tourism around the sea, and protect the marine agriculture in the sea.(28) Also, by pumping sea water into the Dead Sea, Israel and Jordan could use all of the freshwater from the Jordan River before it flowed into it.(29) Both plans needed the support from the other state though, and so for almost forty five years the plans were on the shelf. Building the canal separately was not viable due to the high costs. Plus, neither country has sovereign rights over the Dead Sea, which has meant that action could be only taken with cooperation. The Peace Treaty of 1994 produced hope of an agreement on the issue, and finally, in 1997, the two states have agreed to the Red- Dead Sea Canal project. Potential efforts
Future efforts in this region will be centered on increasing the freshwater supply for the riparians. One such effort may be between Jordan and Israel with the Yarmuk River and the Sea of Galilee. The Yarmuk River floods every winter in Jordan, but the water is not caught and runs off; which means 100 to 240 mcm/yr of water goes to waste.(30) Political cooperation with Israel is important because the Sea of Galilee is entirely within its border. If Israel agreed, Jordan could channel the flood waters to the Sea of Galilee, and it would benefit both countries. Israel s main source of water is from the Sea of Galilee, and with more freshwater flowing in from the Yarmuk, it would decrease the Sea s salinity by 20 per cent. This would be of great advantage to Israel. Jordan would benefit because it receives 40 per cent of Yarmuk River, and during the summer it would have more water.(31) Diversion of the water would also give both countries access to cheap waters compared to other alternatives. The Yarmuk Diversion Project would benefit both countries. Hopefully, with the 1994 peace treaty and the agreement on the Red-Dead Project, cooperation between Jordan and Israel on this project will be more likely.
Another potential source of additional freshwater may be the 'Peace Pipeline or 'Mini-Peace Pipeline proposed by Turkey. Turkey has expressed interest in supplying the Middle East countries with freshwater through pipelines, either to surface waters or just aquifers. Though this solution is possible, future agreement by the countries seem implausible; the Arab nations may be unwilling to give Turkey control over their water resources. The cost of this project would also be too high. Importing water to the region is one method of increasing supply, but seems unlikely at this moment.
Another option for increasing the supply may be desalinization. There has been much hope surrounding this option, since there is an abundance of salt water, this process may be able to greatly increase water in arid regions. Currently though, desalinization has many obstacles in its path. First of all, Israel seems to have the best technology, but the process is too costly. The amount of water that desalinization converts to freshwater is too little to warrant the costs. Possibly, if countries such as the U.S. or Europe, with advanced technical capabilities, were to work on desalinization plants, the price and efficiency might decrease; but for now the price is too high. Secondly, desalinization is not the best answer; saltwater seas have their own ecology to support.(32) These seas have a purpose in the environment, and converting all the saltwater to freshwater can alter the area. Though desalinization might be a good idea for quick relief, it can not be a permanent long-term solution.
Regardless of these technical solutions and viability, success depends on a basin wide agreement on allocation of the water between all the riparians. The division should be equitable among all parties, including the Palestinians in the West Bank (because of the aquifers that recharge in the West Bank). The Johnston Plan was not ratified, and though there has been de facto acknowledgment, the region needs a strict agreement by all. Aaron Wolf, a water expert, developed a plan for a Jordan River Basin water development framework: 1) negotiation of an equitable division of water resources, 2) establishment of policies to allow greater efficiency for regional water supply and demand, 3) determination of the availability and political viability of water imports to alleviate short-term needs, and 4) investment in large-scale regional desalination projects to provide for long-term needs.(33) A plan that controls the supply and demand of the water of the Jordan River Basin will, ultimately, be the only way the water crisis between the riparians will be solved.
The Jordan River Basin is a case study that clearly illustrates the problems faced by countries in the Middle East. The problems of this river basin though, are, as presented, twofold: 1) an issue over the allocation between the main riparians, Jordan and Israel, and 2) an issue over the allocation of water between the Palestinians and Israelis, especially in the West Bank. However, this unique predicament does not change the basic issues that the Middle East nations have to address in order to solve the water scarcity issue.
The case study listed the various efforts taken to come to any agreement, but showed the consequences of a lack of basin wide agreement between the riparians. This is clearly illustrated with Israel s lack of interest in the Yarmuk Diversion Project because of political reasons, regardless of the water benefits for Israel and Jordan. Key factors that underline Middle East nations and their water crisis have not been addressed. As mentioned above, central to any river basin is an integrated basin management. All riparians must accept the other s right to the water, and a system of allocation must be agreed upon. Currently, states suspect their neighbor s water projects and are quick to believe that other riparians are taking more than is their rightful share. An agreement will ease water projects because allocation with be determined and monitered by all riparians. Basin-wide agreement will hopefully lead to more cooperation on projects which will help all the riparians.
Before water allocation can be agreed upon by riparians though, there must be an international legal regime or a set of international norms which address such basic topics as rights to a river basin and how water conflicts should be resolved. These topics would cover which states have rights, whether states with prior use of a river would still qualify as a riparian, and how groundwater (aquifers) would be allocated.(34) The neglect of the aquifers in the Johnston Plan has been seen as one of the major faults of the plan. Another issue that needs to addressed internationally is water and human rights. The right to water should be made a human right and therefore, by making states accept this, they would be forced accept projects to increase the water supply to their people. Currently, some see Israel s denial of water to the Palestinians in the West Bank as a violation of human rights.(35) If water is made a human right, then hopefully violation of an international norm will be a deterrent to such flagrant actions by riparians. These issues, though, must be agreed upon globally, so that riparians of a river basin would have a guideline from which to refer to during negotiations over an agreement.
There are many issues, outside of a basin wide agreement, that states have to accept and do in regards to water scarcity. First of all, there cannot be a separation of political and technical solutions on the water issue. Without a political solution, such as the Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty, in 1994, which ended their state of war relationship, the recent Red-Dead Sea Project may not have been possible. Political issues must also be addressed in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict before possible technical issues could be agreed upon. The technical solutions would then have to respond to the political and social situations of the riparians. States must consider all issues when planning projects, the political and social implications must be analyzed along with the technical feasibility.
Finally, the key to any solution and agreement throughout the region is access to information by all riparians. In order to decide on allocation or the feasibility of projects, states must have access to the correct data and an impartial assessment of the data. Then, agreeing on data will allow negotiations on the allocation to be simpler. Currently, the Palestinians are barred from studying the aquifers within the West Bank, are not hired by the Israeli Water Department, and are not given access to data.(36) This water conflict can not be solved, though, until both parties agree on the data before allocation.
Good information is also important in the education of riparians on environmental and conservation issues. The Middle East states have for many years dealt with the issue of water scarcity, but have not addressed the environmental problems. Pollution, unless specific to a river basin, has not been handled in terms of industrial control; and neither has conservation of water by changing demand patterns.(37) Demand can be decreased if more efficient methods of irrigation and drainage systems are implemented. Through education, the citizens can realize water can be used rationally, and that it is not a free and public good; societies must realize the cost of water. Demand for water could also decrease if farmers performed a cost analysis on crop. The cost of water should be included in the cost of growing and harvesting crops; in the Middle East, many regions might find this cost to be much more expensive than crop imported. Many states in the region import up to 50 per cent of their food, but still view food security as central to their national security.(38) The goal of food security though, has sometimes led to the growing of crops which would have been cheaper to import. This should be regarded as a waste of water by the state and should not be a sacrifice to achieving food security. This is where the cost analysis should be performed and if the crops grown cost more than importing them, the water should be conserved. States must be taught to accept food imports as a safe alternative and water should be a very appealing benefit. The Jordan River Basin
The conclusion listed a set of factors that are key steps to a successful allocation of a river basin; but where does this leave the Jordan River Basin and its riparians? The peace process of the nineties gave hope to a water solution, but the recent obstacles bring a cloud over the proceedings. Without a final political peace on the international borders and the land, the water issue may never be truly solved. Regardless though, the key to success is a regional management of the river through planning and regional cooperation in order to establish an innovative legal institution and organizational structures to address efficient water management, set standards for wastewater treatment and recycling, and monitor water on a seasonal basis. Hopefully, small steps can be taken before a final peace is made, especially between the Israelis and Palestinians; for even if the Israel does not recognize the Palestinians as a legitimate riparian, they can be accept them as a people with a right to water. Proper allocation of the West Bank aquifers and the rivers in the basin should be undertaken first before other diversion plans from other river basins are considered for the Palestinians. Some contend that the Nile River would be a good source of water for the Palestinians, but the riparians of the Nile, especially Egypt, have their own water scarcity problems, and this would not be a long-term permanent solution.(39) The Jordan River Basin is an excellent case study of a river basin with water scarcity issues among its riparians. Without a political peace there may be no true water solution, but the steps laid out above can move the riparians closer to an equitable distribution of water.
1. Ismail Serageldin, "Water Diplomacy and the 21st Century: From Conflict to Cooperation," Associated Event of the Fifth World Bank Conference, Washington, DC, 10 Oct. 1997.
2. Sandra Postel, Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcity (New York: W. W. Norton, 1997) 76.
3. Peter Rogers and Peter Lydon, eds., Water In the Arab World Perspective and Prognoses (Boston: Harvard University Press, 1994) viii & 2.
4. Rogers and Lydon viii.
5. Ashok Swain, "Water Scarcity" American University Preventive Diplomacy Class, Washington, DC, 3 Nov. 1997.
6. Aaron T. Wolf, Hydropolitics Along the Jordan River: Scarce water and its impact on the Arab-Israeli conflict (New York: United Nations University Press, 1995) 7.
7. Xavier Henri Farinelli, "Freshwater Conflicts in the Jordan River Basin," Green Cross International http://www.gci.ch/water/gcwater/study.html, 24.
8. Wolf 9.
9. Farinelli 24.
10. Wolf 9.
11. Farinelli 24-26 and Wolf 10.
12. Elisha Kally with Gideon Fishelson, Water and Peace: Water resources and the Arab- Israeli Peace Process (Connecticut: Praeger, 1993) 17.
13. Farinelli 26.
14. Wolf 10.
15. Wolf 10-11.
16. Wolf 12.
17. Farinelli 27.
18. Wolf 45.
19. Wolf 50.
20. Wolf 50.
21. The Yarmuk River divides Jordan and Syria and flows to the Jordan River ten kilometers below the Sea of Galilee, in the Golan Heights. Israel gained the Golan Heights territory in 1967, and this allowed them to claim rights to the Yarmuk along with the other headwaters of the Jordan River.
22. Kally 22.
23. Farinelli 30.
24. Sharif S. Elmusa, "The Water Issue and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict," Information Paper Number 2 (Washington, DC: Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine, 1993) 3.
25. Wolf 63-64.
26. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Main Points of Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty October 26, 1994 http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/peace/isrjor.html, 5.
27. Suleiman al-Khalidi, "Interview-Jordan, Israel Push Major Border Schemes," Reuters http://www.cnn.com, 22 Oct. 1997.
28. Kally 92.
29. Kally 84.
30. Kally 83.
31. Kally 79.
32. Swain lecture.
33. Wolf 178.
34. Swain lecture.
35. Elmusa 3.
36. Elmusa 3.
37. Rodgers and Lydon viii.
38. Rodgers and Lydon 8.
39. Kally 80.
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