|Freshwater Resources in Arid Lands (UNU, 1997, 94 p.)|
|1: Fresh water - A scarce resource in arid lands|
Although the area is not so vast, one of the world's most acute freshwater issues will be the Israel-Palestine one. To be sure, since 1993 when the Peace Treaty was signed, bilateral communication has been improving and traffic between Israel and Jordan is now open. However, despite the transboundary Jordan River Project (which includes the Yarmouk River), the imbalance of the water supply between Palestinians and Israelis presents a big problem for the future. The recent Israeli Jordanian rapprochement included an agreement on rights to the Jordan and Yarmouk rivers, paying no heed to Palestinian rights to these waters. The Peace Treaty represents a further denial of the Palestinian water needs, and only exacerbates Palestinian fears that their minimal water requirements will remain unmet.
The Palestinian-Israeli water dispute could be resolved - but only if the issues of water allocation, water supply, and water conservation are addressed as an interrelated whole. Each party's rights, needs, and interests must be met; if they are not, any settlement will prove to be unsustainable. In terms of rights, the needs and interests of Palestine must be met, because water availability currently fails to meet even minimal requirements for social and economic well-being (Issac and Selby 1996).
Also, from early in the twentieth century there has been the ambitious plan to divert water from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea. This kind of megaengineering is now feasible with the use of new technology. For example, an important contribution on this topic of a Mediterranean Sea-Dead Sea canal, using newly developed reverse osmosis technology, has been proposed recently (Murakami 1995). However, we have not yet done an environmental assessment, and the fundamental issue in the region remains the imbalance of the water supply.