Photo retrieved from: www.globalvoicesonline.org
“Disputes over water are common around the world, exacerbated by climate change, growing populations, rapid urbanisation, increased irrigation and a rising demand for alternative energy sources such as hydroelectricity.
Following are a few of the regions where competition for water from major rivers systems is fuelling tension.
India is home to three major river systems — the Ganges, Brahmaputra and the Indus — which support 700 million people. As an upstream nation, it controls water flows to Bangladesh to the east and Pakistan to the west. The Indus supplies some 80 percent of Pakistan’s irrigated land.
India and Pakistan are both building hydropower dams in disputed Kashmir along Kishanganga river. Pakistan fears India’s dams will disrupt water flows.
India, for its part, is concerned that China is building dams along the Tsangpo river, which runs into India as the Brahmaputra.”
Read more: Reuters
Photo retrieved from: www.takepart.com
“In the current climate of political contest and a reduced Jordan River, currently conveying 2 percent of its historic flow, it is worth thinking anew about the importance of the Jordan, borders and water. In place of reactionary territorial claims justified through religious precedent, perhaps the time has come to acknowledge biblical depictions of regional societies in which local economies and resource availability provide the basis of coexistence. Neither ancient nor modern claims will matter when the water sources run dry.
Water scarcity in the Middle East may lead to more internecine violence or to the actual demise of large, poor families. Every Middle Eastern government with a coastline looks to solve the problem through large de-salination projects without regard for the saline byproducts, the enormous energy costs and the need for global capital investment. While global capital finds it way into most local infrastructure projects these days, it causes particular concern to think of global capital setting water prices in situations like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which the state (or proto state) encourages families to expand in the name of winning the demographic war. Yet the diminishing water table may be the very agent of political transformation.”
Read more: Huffington Post
Photo retrieved from: www.greenprophet.com
“Water pollution in Israeli lakes, streams and groundwater aquifers is reaching alarming levels. Although the country has regulations in place to prevent discharges, including a comprehensive Water Law, contamination is commonplace. And now scientists are finding that water quality problems threaten both wildlife and human health.
The lutra, a cousin of the otter found in lakes and rivers throughout Northern Israel, is in danger of extinction. Hunting is one of the threats to this fish-eating swamp dweller. Guest workers, mostly from Thailand, have been responsible for a great deal of lutra poaching. Arriving from areas in Southeast Asia where unrestricted wildlife trapping is the norm, these workers often clash with Israel’s stricter protections.
However, the more pervasive danger for the lutra is polluted water flowing through its habitat. In a recent study published in the Israeli journal Ecology & Environment, scientists reported that low water quality and lack of flow in the Jordan River has nearly wiped out the lutra south of Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee). The population north of the lake is relatively stable, but its disappearance in other areas has shocked ecologists.
Additionally, industrial waste from factories in the Rotem Plain has been leaching into groundwater near Ein Bokek Nature Reserve for almost two decades. Ein Bokek is one of the most important reserves in Israel, hosting a myriad species of animals and plants.”
Read more: Green Prophet
Photo retrieved from: www.aljazeera.net
“IN ISRAEL, not far from the place where Jesus is said to have walked on water and fed thousands with just five loaves of bread and two fish, government engineers have performed a miracle of their own—they’ve made a river disappear. The Jordan River leaves the Sea of Galilee on its way to the Dead Sea in a slow laze past a series of campsites to a concrete complex, beside which white-robed pilgrims submerge themselves in its waters. From there, it pushes onward, winding through olive groves, farmers’ fields, and patches of brushwoods. Then, suddenly, it stops. At a pumping station less than three kilometers from the river’s source, five broad green pipes dip like elephant trunks to suck the water out. Beyond this point, the river has been reduced to less than 2 percent of its original flow.
The disappearance of the Jordan River, much like the area’s dropping aquifers, is a symptom of the struggle for water that has shaped the modern Middle East. The flow of a river that once irrigated the fields of the West Bank has been channeled through pipes, pumps, and canals to gush from the taps in Tel Aviv, and to “make the desert bloom” in the Negev. This diversion of water may be a technical marvel, but it’s emptying rivers and leaving critical aquifers dangerously susceptible to the intrusion of salt water and raw sewage.”
Read more: Orion Magazine
Photo retrieved from: www.palestinenote.com
“The equitable allocation of shared water resources is a principle codified under customary international water law. It applies both to the underground mountain aquifers that straddle the 1967 line separating Israel from the West Bank, as well as to the coastal aquifer that runs the length of the Mediterranean coast and under Gaza. It also applies to the Jordan River Basin.
This principle means that wherever water crosses one or more borders, it must be shared fairly, and equitably and in a manner that respects the water rights of all those involved.
To most people, this would seem perfectly reasonable. Not to Gilad Erdan, however, whose performance helped explain why few in the international community believe the current Israeli government is genuine or capable of negotiating real peace, and why international support for UN recognition of a Palestinian state in September continues growing apace.
In particular, Erdan shamelessly tried to blame the severe water crisis affecting Palestinians on Palestinians, singling out for particular criticism the refusal of PA officials such as myself to meet with Israeli officials. His claims were repeated in The Jerusalem Post two weeks ago.”
Read more: The Jerusalem Post
“The once mighty Jordan River, where Christians believe Jesus was baptised, is now little more than a polluted stream that could die next year unless the decay is halted, environmentalists said on Monday.
“More than 98 percent of the river’s flow has been diverted by Israel, Syria and Jordan over the years.
“The remaining flow consists primarily of sewage, fish pond water, agricultural run-off and saline water,” the environmentalists from Israel, Jordan and the West Bank said in the report to be presented in Amman on Monday.
“Without concrete action, the LJR (lower Jordan River) is expected to run dry at the end of 2011.”
read more: PhysOrg