|Central Eurasian Water Crisis: Caspian, Aral, and Dead Seas (UNU, 1998, 203 pages)|
|Part IV: The Dead Sea|
|11. Alternative strategies in the inter-state regional development of the Jordan Rift Valley|
By the beginning of the twenty-first century, Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank will have depleted virtually all of their renewable sources of fresh water, if current patterns of consumption are not quickly and radically altered. As water shortages occur and full utilization is reached, water policies tend to be framed more and more in zero-sum terms, adding to the probability of discord.
Water conservation and management (including water-pricing scenarios) are essential confidence-building measures to manage the water resources in the region. In these circumstances, non-conventional strategic alternatives, including desalination and the re-use of treated waste water, will become increasingly and significantly important in water resources development to supply new additional fresh water in the twenty-first century.
Energy supplies are closely related to desalination and wastewater treatment for re-use because these treatments consume substantial amounts of electricity. Taking into account recent advances in membrane separation technologies, many countries in the Middle East are also trying to introduce large-scale desalination by the year 2000. Although this is likely to be dependent on low-energy types of reverse osmosis membrane, the energy cost will be 30-50 per cent of the total (Murakami, 1991,1995). Consequently, the potential use of off-peak electricity will be a key element in minimizing the cost of water management and operation.
The Jordan Valley, which includes the two inter-state regions of the Dead Sea and Aqaba, has become the focus of international cooperation and economic development for peace and confidence building in the aftermath of the "Declaration of Principles" between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on 13 September 1993 and the "Treaty of Peace" between Jordan and Israel on 26 October 1994. It is now possible to conceive of an integrated, stepwise regional development plan for the lower Jordan River, the Dead Sea, and Aqaba, including some new, non-conventional alternatives, given the limitations imposed by political frameworks and boundary conditions that exclude the two upstream riparian states of Syria and Lebanon. This chapter assesses three techno-political strategic alternatives to supply fresh and safe drinking water - canal schemes for co-generation, the lower Jordan Peace Drainage Canal, and the Aqaba hybrid sea-water pumped-storage scheme for co-generation - taking into account the incentives for eco-political decision-making, inter-state regional economic development, and the desire for peaceful cooperation.