Hydropolitics along the Jordan River: Scarce Water and Its Impact on the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Hydropolitics along the Jordan River: Scarce Water and Its Impact on the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Hydropolitics along the Jordan River: Scarce Water and Its Impact on the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Hydropolitics along the Jordan River: Scarce Water and Its Impact on the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Synopsis

This book argues that the Jordan River watershed - a region where some of the worst Arab-Israeli conflicts have occurred - might be the very place to bury ancient hatreds & work to give birth to new & more enlightened environmental collaboration. The river runs through the peace talks - or it certainly should. The premise is that the inextricable link between water & politics could be harnessed to make partners of old enemies, allied against a common ecological reality. The book examines the impact water has had on settlements in the West Bank & other regions of the Jordan River watershed: lands now mainly in a state of uneasy political truce.

Excerpt

All of the countries and territories in and around the Jordan River watershed – Israel, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank, and Gaza – are currently using between 95 per cent and more than 100 per cent of their annual renewable freshwater supply. in recent dry years, water consumption has routinely exceeded annual supply, the difference usually being made up through overpumping of fragile groundwater systems. By the end of the century, shortages will be the norm. Projected water requirements for the year 2000 are 2,000 million cubic metres (MCM) annually for Israel, approximately 130 per cent of current renewable supplies, and 1,000 MCM/yr, or 115 per cent of current supplies, for Jordan. Syrian water demand is expected to exceed available supply by 2010.

Superimposed on this regional water shortage are the political boundaries of countries that have been in a technical, when not actual, state of war since 1948. in fact, much of the political conflict has been either precipitated or exacerbated by conflicts over scarce water resources. Water-related incidents include the first Arab summit, with the consequent establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964, armed escalation between Syria and Israel leading up to the Six-Day War in 1967 and, according to some, the war itself, as well as the current impasse over the final status of the West Bank. Israel’s incursions into Lebanon and its continued presence there have also been linked to a “hydraulic imperative.”

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