POLICY BRIEF | Going Beyond The Three Rivers : Possible Resolutions for Arab Water Issues
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POLICY BRIEF | Going Beyond The Three Rivers : Possible Resolutions for Arab Water Issues

By Dr. Mohammad Salim Al-Rawashdeh and Dr. Jebreel Ajreed Al-Odat
al-Balqa'a Applied University, Jordan 

POLICY BRIEF | Going Beyond The Three Rivers : Possible Resolutions for Arab Water Issues

Image Attribute: Euphrates River near Kahta, Turkey / Alex WangWikipedia

Hotbeds of potential problems in the Middle East is not limited to the three major river systems in the region - Nile, the Tigris and Euphrates and the Jordan River. But, the conflicts also arise in areas where people and nations rely on stored quantities of water in aquifers between the rock layers and sand stones, for example, is the Hashemite Kingdom Jordan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's, in recent times the use of Saudi Arabia of the stored water in the aquifers between rock layers sandstones of the groundwater reservoir is located on the border between Jordan and Saudi (AL DISI BAISIN), and if we take into account that it is imperative for Jordan to use this water due to population growth and the limited sources of the waters, so far Jordanian Govt started a big project from the southern part of the country to pump fresh water to the capital Amman, about (100 million cubic meter) per year in 2013.

Image Attribute: The three major river basins of the Middle East

Image Attribute: The three major river basins of the Middle East

The same is also reportedly on the Jordan River, which is considered one of the factors that can lead to conflict, has led to so already, war of six days in 1967 was an inevitable consequence of the Arab plan to divert the headwaters of the Jordan River, causing ignite a war between Israel and Syria, this in turn led directly to the creation of Israel under the guidance destructive blows to Syria, Egypt, and so the water has played a key role in the war between Israel and the Arabs in 1967, as well as in the bloody civil war in Jordan in 1970 and in the invasion of Lebanon in 1978 and 1982, and in military operations in eastern Turkey since 1983 onwards, and in the south conflict - the north, which led to fatigue Sudan for a long time, and if it is so- as it appears- it is properly that there will be new wars on water will spin on the land of the Middle East, which prompted Professor Elias Salamah , from the University of Jordan to say his famous words «The water will determine the fate of the Middle East.

The matter doesn't stop at this point, there is concern that the extension of water problems of the Middle East to include seemingly distant countries for a loop conflict in the region such as Ethiopia state geographically linked to Sudan and Egypt through the Blue Nile. With the establishment of new dams in Ethiopia with the help of Israel, it is likely to arise conflict between Egypt and Sudan, and add to that the dispute between Mauritania and Senegal on shared water resources, as described by expert this is one of the serious conflict areas that are likely to increase the unity of the military intervention, but that the world can avoid all these confrontations something one which cooperation, particularly and that there is no country in the Middle East have the ability to settle the problems until these political extremists like Tara fael Eitan » former Israeli Minister of Agriculture, knows earlier that the cooperation between Israel and Jordan is necessary to say the least. 

Here we would like to note that the available phenomenon of water resources in the Arab world has very strategic importance of water security implications, which is that about half of these resources stems from the outside, so it is the next natural reasons, this makes these resources vulnerable to shortages and deterioration in quality as a result of strategy factors, or unfair uses , which shows underscoring the importance of working to develop international legislation that includes the rights of the Arab countries, and good implemented by all countries concerned.

The challenges facing the Arab water issues in addition to the high population growth, which will lead to a rise in its population of 350 million people in 2006 to 586 million inhabitants in 2026, requires a new ways to confront the water poverty and the widening phenomenon of desertification Arab food gap, and that means:

1) To adopt water strategy in the Arab world as a whole, and at the regional level (a set of common Arab countries in one river basin) and at the country level, rather than relying on the adoption of reactions to the positions of the neighboring countries. 

2) The existence of a common Arab vision to address the Israeli plans aimed at the violation of Arab water rights that are forcing Israel to respect the peace treaty with Jordan in terms of water. 

3) Raising the efficiency of water use through the development of systems and methods of the current irrigation. 

4) Rationalization of water use, either directly or indirectly through pricing and the need to pursue policies that will expand in the high-value crops, used for less amounts of water, which is imposed by water scarcity in the Arab countries. 

5) The need to use non-conventional water from sewage treatment and water desalination, through the support of scientific research and technology of water desalination, which is expected to evolve their use in Arab countries outside the Gulf region, and is a coordination between all the Arab countries in the development of scientific research in water use and negotiated in all regional and international forums, and to consider the Arab water security part of the Arab national security, is an essential input to reduce the aggravation of Arab water issue and the spread of desertification in the Arab world. 

6) Establishment of conveying water from one region to another within a single country projects, and the transfer of water from one country to another (such as the peace pipeline project put forward by Turkey in 1987 on the Gulf, Syria and Jordan countries to provide them with water from a surplus of rivers of Seyhan and Ceyhan in southern Turkey) 

7) Increase financial support for projects of Arab water by Arab finance institutions, and the creation of an independent Arab body of water holds the planning for Water and coordination between projects and conduct research on water and the promotion of Arab cooperation in this area and enact laws governing the use of shared water between one countries of the basin resources and the development of disciplines in aquatic Sciences in separate sections of the Arab League; in order to graduate specialized in this field of scientific competencies. 

8) Identify sectors of desertification and evaluation, as well as adapt to the nature of climate variability and scientific planning for the use of land and reclaimed for agriculture. 

9) Require Arab water security protection of water between agricultural authorities and consumer distribution, equitable and equal, and the development of the private collective action to address this problem, Green Belt project in which the share of the western Arab countries, would reduce the threat coming from the Sahara sand encroachment, The project to develop the Al-Hammad basin, which extends into its territory, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria borders, is an Arab joint venture, aims to develop the basin and reduce desertification . 

10) Establishment of an industrial base for water technology and the establishment of an Arab center for training on modern technology in the field of water. 

11) Paying attention to the education program of water engineering, particularly in the applied field.

12) Linkage between development plans and water policies. 

13) Support the possibilities of scientific research centers and scrutiny priorities, such as the focus on the exploitation of solar energy in desalination. An advanced solar energy technology that can make desalination at low cost. 

14) Achieving the highest degree of benefit from the global scientific research. 

15) Extensive awareness of the masses in terms of water culture and achieve the cultural awakening that makes rational known use of water and wasteful denying campaigns. 

16) Establishing a cabinet made up of ministers of the Arab Water and Water Resources to develop a common vision following the sophisticated tactics that serve the common international waters uses.

17) Finding an Arab fund for financial support of the Arab water security as are necessary to finance the various projects and research in the areas of water. 

18) To meet the growing demand for water and the large gap between water resources and the demand for them, there should be the implementation of water resources development projects. 

19) Expansion in the construction of surface reservoirs and streams where technically and economically feasible. 

20) Exploring basins and hydrological mapping. 

21) Develop sewage and industrial wastewater treatment to gain access to the closed session of the water in these areas. 

22) Establishment of water desalination plants relies on solar energy available in abundance in the Arab world to minimize sweetener costs. 

23) Develop the Arab and regional cooperation in the field of utilization of available water resources and development.

Although the countries of the Middle East-with the exception of Israel, still apparently betting on a diplomatic tool to address any dispute that may arise with regard to water released, except that if the search for a political settlement, the key problem is that there are real difficulties on reaching an equitable division dwindling water resources, especially in the Levant region, due to the increasing Israel's water resources need eye- due to the constant desire to bring more immigrants. Thus, the military tool may present itself in the future stages of a conflict of wills between Arabs and Israelis' but a long conflict in the past for a period of more than half a century was based on the water issues.

We can even foresee conflict scenarios for water in the region by addressing the analysis of the degree of balance of the resources: requirements and plans and projects put forward in the light of the objective reasons that could lead to an increase in the degree of conflict over water in the Middle East or reduce the degree of unity.

About the Authors:

Dr. Mohammad Salim Al-Rawashdeh, Associated Professor, International Relations, AL-BALQA‘A APPLIED UNIVERSITY, Princess Alia College for Applied and social sciences, Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan.

Dr. Jebreel Ajreed Al-Odat, Associated Professor, Sport Physical Education, AL-BALQA‘A APPLIED UNIVERSITY., Princess Alia College for Applied and social sciences, Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan.

Publication Details:

This article is an excerpt from technical paper, titled - "The Impact of the Internal Variables on Water Security in the Middle East (Water is a Foundation for Human Prosperity)", published at International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR) ISSN (Online): 2319-7064 | Volume 5 Issue 5, May 2016 www.ijsr.net Licensed Under Creative Commons Attribution CC BY