Water: A Critical Element to Mideast Peace

As reported by National Geographic, many experts feel that an impending water crisis in the region may bring Israelis and Palestinians together to discuss a wide range of issues.  As the article notes:

“…Solving Israel’s desperate water shortage could be a critical step toward peace, and the two parties could forge a water management agreement in short order—if it were a priority, according to policy analysts.

…More than 10 million people (7 million Israelis and 3.8 million Palestinians) live densely packed on just 10,840 square miles (28,075 square kilometers). And they all drink from the same dwindling water supply.

 Precipitation is sporadic at best, and there are just three primary water sources: a coastal aquifer, which extends underground from Israel’s northern coast south to the Gaza Strip; a mountain aquifer, which extends north-south under the West Bank and Judean Hills; and Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) and the Jordan River Basin.

 The two aquifers supply the Israeli and Palestinian populations, which also pull water, along with Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, from the Jordan River and its tributaries.

 A drought period of several years is exacerbating the intensity of competition for this scarce resource, which is dwindling even more due to leaking infrastructure, rampant water pollution, and poor management.

…Upstream-downstream water rights are fiercely contested, and human-made political borders complicate the conflict. Some 80 percent of the rain that falls on the West Bank—generally seen as the site of a future Palestinian state—flows underground to Israel via the mountain aquifer.

 Five countries exploit the Jordan River as it travels south, creating a situation in which the waterway is little more than a small stream by the time it flows into the Dead Sea….”

This entry was posted on Friday, June 6th, 2008 at 5:08 am and is filed under Israel, Jordan, Jordan River, Lebanon, Syria.  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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