News Feature | January 22, 2014

Israeli-Jordanian Peace Agreement May Include Sharing Water Resources

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

israelreg

It appears Jordan and Palestine are interested in buying desalinated water from Israel. 

That's according to a report in the Haaretz newspaper's business magazine TheMarker.

"Israel recently announced that its current desalination capacity exceeds its needs due to two consecutive years of heavy rainfall," the report said. 

Drought-plagued Jordan wants to increase the amount of water it buys from Israel, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) appears to be interested as well, the report said. 

"As part of the Israeli-Jordanian peace agreement, Israel sells Jordan 35 million cubic meters of water a year from the Sea of Galilee while Jordan allows the transfer of some 20 million cubic meters of water from the Yarmouk River to flow into Israel during the winter. Some five to 10 million cubic meters of this water returns to Jordan over the summer," the report said. 

The price for Jordan is $0.04 per cubic meter. For water in excess of that amount, Jordan pays $0.45, meaning a total payment of about $8.5 million per year, the report said. 

"While officials in Jerusalem are reportedly discussing the Jordanian request, a conflict over the PA’s outstanding $310 million bill to the Israel Electric Corporation precludes even the possibility of talks on the matter," the report said. 

Thanks to desalination, Israel has a valuable item on its hands. 

"Israeli planners are looking to desalination as a possible permanent solution to the problem of drought. Some even anticipate an event that was once unthinkable: a water surplus in Israel," the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported

In 2014, however, Israel is likely to rely less on desalination. 

"After two years of relatively heavy rainfall, the government will be reducing the amount of water it buys from the country’s desalination plants by 30 percent this year," Haaretz reported this month.  

Talks between the government and plant operators landed on a plan for how much water the government will buy. The decided amount is "just 70 percent of their total production capacity of 510 million cubic meters."

Image credit: "Israel 2009," © 2009 Alistair, used under a Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

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