|Managing Water for Peace in the Middle East: Alternative Strategies (UNU, 1995, 309 pages)|
|5. Solar-hydro power and pumped-storage co-generation in hydro-powered reverse osmosis desalination in inter-state development of the Jordan River basin|
After exploiting all of the renewable fresh water resources within their national boundaries, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan have no choice except to develop transboundary waters and/or non-conventional waters. Water conservation is an important and essential issue in water management, but development of non-conventional water alternatives is becoming imperative to supply fresh potable water to the growing population in the Middle East and within the framework of a water master plan for peace.
5.7.1 Non-conventional water-resources development alternatives
Conventional alternatives have the highest priority in water-resources planning where there are still renewable fresh waters to be developed without creating any inter-state riparian questions. This ideal situation does not exist in most countries of the Middle East apart from Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon.
Non-conventional alternatives, which comprise desalination, the reuse of treated waste water, and water transportation by tanker or barge or bags, will be key issues to sustain water development in the twenty-first century, when no further renewable fresh water can be developed without exceeding the sustainable yield, while non-conventional water resources are generally more complex in development and operation than conventional sources and are almost always more expensive. The great advantage of desalination and the reuse of treated waste water is that there are no political constraints on their development. The unlimited supply of seawater is another advantage for desalination, especially since 70% of the Arab and Israeli populations live along the sea coast. This situation favours Israel and the Gaza Strip, but not the West Bank and Jordan except for the Aqaba coastal plain.
Fossil groundwater by contrast is far too valuable an asset for use except as a strategic reserve that can be used for a short time for relief during extreme drought or emergencies.
5.7.2 Project feasibility and techno-political alternatives
Any water project in the Middle East, whether conventional or nonconventional, will have to be reviewed for technical and environmental feasibility, economic and financial feasibility, and social and political feasibility.
Project priority among the techno-political alternatives will be evaluated by taking into account the project time-schedule priorities on a short-term or emergency, mid-term, and long-term basis (see fig. 5.15). The following priorities are proposed on the assumption that equal weight will be given to each feasibility element.
(1) Short-term relief-highest priority and urgent countermeasures in water development and management, no political constraints:
(2) mid-term relief 1-high priority in water-energy development, to be included in a strategic peace agreement between Israel, Palestine, and Jordan that may facilitate peace negotiations, with benefits for multilateral regional economic development opportunities in the Dead Sea and Aqaba regions:
(3) mid-term relief 2-medium priority in the water-supply alternatives with some bilateral negotiations with water-rich countries such as Turkey, Albania, Iran, and South-East Asian countries:
(4) long-term relief-medium to low priority (but not any less important) with complicated multinational riparian negotiations and/or technicaleconomic-financial complexity. Inter-state water transportation by pipeline, canal, and other means is illustrated in fig. 1.2, induding:
After exploiting renewable water resources up to the limits of the sustainable yield, (1) water conservation will be essential to manage the water resources; (2) water politics and negotiations will be priority issues in any transboundary water-development project; and (3) innovative technological development with reasonable cost reduction will be the key to non-conventional water development.