Transnational Protocol Authority for Economic Gains in Water Management

Transnational Protocol Authority for Economic Gains in Water Management

Philippe W. Zgheib (Lebanese American University, Lebanon)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8247-2.ch001

Abstract

Throughout human history, struggles over access and control of water resources have been a root cause of tension and armed conflict. In Middle Eastern scheming for power, water is viewed as a strategic resource, quickly becoming the dominant resource issue. As water shortages are acute and laden with emotive conflictual tones, this is exacerbated by the lack of a mechanism short of war or external governance for allocating the resource. A strategy based on economic efficiency gains will lead to improved equity and will reinforce any peace prospect. Some of the most conflictual issues may thus be settled through a rational and equitable foundation of incentives and institutions. An evaluation of the potential welfare gains under constrained conditions provides an assessment of economic incentive to be derived from an existential gap in multinational water basins.
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A History Of Expansion For Water

In 1948, water needs for the settlement of the emerging state was determined at 920 MCMA (million cubic meters annually). Immediately two sources were tapped: 1) various surface and groundwater developments inside Palestine territory, and 2) diversions from the Jordan River (at 540 MCMA). In 1964, these two sources were fully used. Additional waters were captured during the six-day war in 1967. The upper tributaries of the Jordan River supplied 20 percent of Palestine's demand while 40 percent came from the occupied territories.

In the mid 70's, Palestine was using 95 percent of the total water volume available to it. In 1984, several groundwater wells were depleted. During the next 5 years, increments of 270 MCMA were in demand by an increasing population. In 2000, total water deficit in Palestine was 800 MCMA by 20 percent over replenishment of West Bank surface waters (Vesilino, 1993). Presently Palestine uses 100 percent of water supply available to it: 1,650 million m3 / year including the Wazzani and Hasbani tributaries, (140 million m3 / year).

New technology failed to minimize evaporation in Lake Tiberius of Galilee by covering the lake surface with gel and plastics. Cloud seeding has failed also. Desalination has provided only 300 MCMA since 1986. Water shortage since the founding of Palestine soon resulted in the Johnston Plan (see Table 1), which was realistic since it was backed by the U.S., which, at the time, enjoyed credibility of the Arab neighbors as well as of Palestine (Zeitouni, Becker & Schechter, 1992). Since, the Johnston Plan proposed water allocations within the limits of available supplies, it did not require international agreements.

Table 1.
Johnston plan, 1958: Allocations of Jordan River waters by country
1213 MCMA: Total Available in the Jordan Basin
CountryJordanPalestineSyriaLebanon
Volume (per agreement)774394450
Volume (actual 1990)2758231150

Source: Asharq-Al-Awsat, February 21, 1990, London

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