Diplomacy

Israel, Jordan Conclude Historic Water-Sharing Agreement

Israel and Jordan signed a historic water-sharing agreement on the Jordan side of the Dead Sea today, The Jerusalem Post reported.

According to Thursday’s agreement, Jordan and Israel will share the potable water produced by a future desalination plant in Aqaba, from which salty brines will be piped to the Dead Sea. In return for its portion of the desalinated water in the South, Israel will be doubling its sales of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) water to Jordan on the countries’ northern border.

Signing the agreement on Thursday is National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom, alongside his Jordanian counterpart, Water and Irrigation Minister Hazim El-Naser. …

More specifically, the agreement involves the construction of a 65- to 80-million cubic meter desalination plant in Aqaba, from which Israel would be able to buy some 35 m.cu.m. of water to convey to its desert south, [Shalom advisor Maya] Eldar explained. In return, Jordan would be able to buy an additional 50 m.cu.m. of water from Lake Kinneret annually, roughly doubling its current allocation and quenching of the increasingly thirsty northern portion of the country.

Today’s signing formalizes a memorandum of understanding that was agreed to in December 2013. In addition to the swaps of potable water, a pipeline carrying salty brine will be built from Aqaba to the Dead Sea in an effort to replenish the evaporating landmark.

Though the memorandum of understanding included Israel providing water to the Palestinian Authority, the Post reports that that “issue is being worked on separately.”

In October, Israel and Jordan celebrated twenty years of formal peace. A Jordanian writer has described the level of cooperation between the two countries to be “at its peak.” In addition to cooperating over water, Israel and Jordan have increased security cooperation in the face of the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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