A Middle East Water Grid?

From The Jerusalem Report, a detailed look at a grandiose plan that would put an end to the acute water shortage plaguing Israel and its neighbors.  As noted in the article, all three parties – Israel, Syria, and Turkey – are reportedly intrigued by the possibilities of the blueprint, based on an ambitious Turkish scheme first raised in the 1980s, dropped when Turkish-Syrian relations soured in the 1990s, and now resurrected and refined by an Israeli water engineer.

“…The plan provides for the pumping of two to three billion cubic meters of water a year – more than the current total combined consumption of Israel and the Palestinian Authority – from two rivers, the Ceyhan and the Seyhan, in southeastern Turkey, for use in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

The water would be channeled from Turkey, which enjoys a huge water surplus, in underground pipes and overland canals through western Syria to the southern slopes of Mount Hermon, where it would flow into a dam along the length of the northern stretch of a new Israeli-Syrian border, providing hydro-electric power and serving as a major obstacle against a tank blitz from the Golan Heights, which would be returned to Syria as part of the projected peace package. Some of the water en route would be diverted to Lebanon and water from the dam channeled to Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

“Everybody wins,” says the plan’s author, water engineer Boaz Wachtel, an Israeli fellow at the Washington-based Freedom House, which promotes democracy, peace and human rights. “The Arabs and Israelis get water and stability, the Turks hard currency and enhanced international status.”

…Syria’s persistent attempt to divert water from the Jordan River was one of the main causes of the 1967 Six-Day War, in which it lost the Golan Heights to Israel. But Liel, who chairs the Israel-Syria Peace Society, says he recently received a message from “a very senior source” in Syria that water need no longer be a problem. After returning the Golan Heights, the source pledged, Israel would be able to make full use of Golan water, on condition that Syria gets a commensurate increase in its water allocation from Turkey, which at present comes only from the Euphrates. The Wachtel scheme more than makes up for any Syrian shortfall. “This is wonderful compared to the way we used to see the battle over water as a major strategic issue. Now it has been reduced to a matter of dollars and cents,” Liel tells The Report…”

This entry was posted on Saturday, June 7th, 2008 at 4:26 am and is filed under Israel, Jordan, Jordan River, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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