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5.5 Integration of development alternatives in an inter-state water master plan


An integrated water-resource development and management plan for the Jordan River system, including the Mediterranean-Dead Sea conduit scheme for co-generation and the Al-Wuheda dam scheme, which aims to mitigate the historical complexities, commonalties, and conflict between Israel and Jordan, has to be considered to provide for sharing resources and joint development of the Jordan River.

Before discussing a new inter-state basin-development plan for the Jordan system, the following three major existing development alternatives are examined to assess their status and priority in a master plan.

5.5.1 Alternative 1: Inter-state water transportation by pipeline

Two inter-state water-transportation projects have been proposed for either bilateral or multilateral promotion: the Euphrates-North Jordan transmission scheme and the Peace Pipeline. These schemes were set aside, however, because of fears of political constraints, including interstate riparian-rights questions on the Euphrates River, where the fear of water being used as a political weapon was increasing.

The Peace Pipeline project has now been emphatically rejected by all Arab states, who have said that if necessary they will depend on non-conventional waters in their territory including seawater desalination. However, neither Israel or Jordan, which are not oil-producing countries, have been able to adopt seawater desalination by the thermal method, which requires substantial energy or electricity.

With the opening of the Middle East peace negotiations in Madrid in October 1991, the political emphasis on water's potential as a vehicle for interstate regional cooperation has taken on new importance. A new proposal for transferring water from water-rich Turkey into the fragile and desiccated core region of the Jordan basin (Wolf 1993) is being discussed to puts forth a multidisciplinary study of techno-political viability in the twenty-first century.

5.5.2 Alternative 2: Water transportation by tanker, barge, or bag

The transport of water by tankers, barges, and towed floating bags has been discussed mainly in the oil-producing Gulf countries and/or small islands.

Israel and the Gaza Strip have a long coastline along the Mediterranean, with major coastal population centres such as Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Gaza. Water transportation by tankers, barges, or bags could provide significant relief to all the coastal towns and cities in the Middle East. Provision of water by Turkey for the Israeli water-bag scheme should go a long way towards developing credibility for its good intentions as regards the Euphrates and Tigris and will reduce one of the most serious problems for Israel in discussion with Palestine (Savage 1990). Turkey also holds the key to future full use of the river systems of the Euphrates, Tigris, Ceyhan, Seyhan, and Manavgat.

Jordan has only a short sea coast at Aqaba, while the water demand is located 400 km north of the highland desert at an elevation of 8001,000 m, including the population centres of Amman and Zarqa. This alternative may not be attractive since it would require a water pipeline of more than 400 km and a high pumping head, exceeding 1,000 m.

5.5.3 Altemative 3: Non-conventional water-resources development

Priority is likely to be given to marginal, non-conventional waters in the waterresources development of Israel, Palestine, and Jordan, taking into account not only the technical, financial, and economic but also the political feasibility.

Israel provides an example of a country which has long experience with almost all the non-conventional technologies, including the use of saline water for agriculture. From experimental experience in the late 1970s to the mid1980s, Israel recognized that the reuse of urban waste water in the Dan WasteWater Recovery project had been less successful than had been hoped owing to difficulties in removing certain contaminants, and seawater desalination was too expensive except for specific projects.

Non-conventional water resources are generally more complex in development and operation than conventional sources, and are almost always more expensive. However, there are no further opportunities for the development of renewable waters in Israel, including its present dependence for about 50% of its renewable water on occupied Palestine and other Arab territories. There is a clear linkage between the Israeli occupation policy on Palestine and the water-resources issue. The Israeli dilemma is based not only on the quantity and quality issues of water resources but also on occupation policies contrary to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 of November 1967.

5.5.4 Mediterranean-Dead Sea conduit scheme in the context of interstate development and Jordan River basin management

The Dead Sea has a huge hydro-solar (evaporation) potential, which is shared by Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. Accordingly, Dead Sea hydro-solar development must be discussed in the context of a master plan for inter-state water and power development and management with sharing of resources, and to provide the basis for peaceful collaboration between Israel and its neighbours.

The four main alternative routes considered for the MDS canal as originally conceived (see fig. 5.5) are described in table 5.2. The shorter of the two southern routes-Southern route 1-would have the advantage of minimizing the constraints of both cost and environment. This study supports the concept of such a multilateral plan, which, it has been suggested, should be managed by an international agency such as the United Nations, as proposed in Appendix D.

The MDS conduit scheme, which includes solar-hydro and hydro-powered RO desalination by joint development by Israel, Palestine, and Jordan, is a key proposal studied in this book. The stream flows into the Dead Sea from the Jordan River and Wadi Mujib will be minimized to maximize the seawater diversion capacity from the Mediterranean and to maximize the hydropotential. To make a reality of the physical basis, the following alternatives are included to minimize the winter flows in the river and wadi systems:

>> the Al-Wuheda multipurpose storage-dam scheme on the Yarmouk River, which has been postponed since 1989, owing to Israeli opposition on downstream water-allocation questions;

>> storage-dam schemes on the rift-side wadis on the East Bank, including the Wala and Nukheila dams on Wadi Mujib and Tannour dam on Wadi Hasa, which have no political constraints but need financial support from international aid agencies.

>> Flood-retention, groundwater-recharge dam schemes on the side wadis on the West Bank (occupied Palestine), where limestone geology is predominant, as illustrated in the schematic profile of the hydrogeology and groundwater of Palestine in fig. 5.8, with the aims of cutting flash floods, which are being dumped into the Jordan River or the Mediterranean Sea, and recharging the underlying aquifer system to sustain regional groundwater development. This may lead to improvement of the hard situation whereby Israel has to depend for 40%-50% or more of its present water supply on an aquifer underlying the West Bank.

Jordan's last major river development, the Al-Wuheda dam scheme, with an effective storage of 195 million m, is urgently needed for the national water supply grid to add 155 million m per year. This will also reduce the amount of winter flow into the Dead Sea. Meanwhile to the west the Jordan valley downstream of the Al-Wuheda dam, including Palestine and a portion of Israel, needs more fresh water to extend irrigation development, and to the south-east almost all the population centres in Jordan are located on highland desert at an elevation of 800-1,000 m, which suggests the priority use of the Yarmouk River water for M&I water supply by diverting it from Al-Wuheda (elevation 100 m) to Amman (elevation 800 m), as illustrated in the schematic profile of the Jordan valley and Yarmouk River system in fig.5.9.

Fig. 5.8 Schematic profile of the hydrogeology and groundwater of Israel/Palestine

Co-generation by coupling solar-hydro with hydro-powered RO desalination in the MDS conduit scheme will generate two products:

A schematic of the MDS co-generation system is also shown in fig. 5.9. The capital/investment costs of the hydro-power and the RO desalination elements are preliminarily estimated to be US$1,900 million and US$400 million respectively (see section 5.4). The annual potential outputs such as 1 x 109 kWh of electricity and 100 million m of fresh water for M&I water supply from the co-generation system are estimated to be equivalent to US$80 million per year each (US$160 million in total), assuming an electricity tariff of US$0.08/kWh and a water tariff of US$0.80/m. These cost indices simply suggest one feasible approach to joint development by the riparian states.

Fig. 5.9 Schematic diagram of the 1991 Integrated Joint Development Plan, with AlWubeda dam and MDS conduit schemes

Power generation in Israel in 1991 was 20.8 x 109 kWh, which was about ten times as much as that of Jordan. The installed capacity of 500 MW would be equivalent to 8.5% of Israel's grid capacity of 5,835 MW in 1991. The electricity from the Dead Sea hydro-power would, however, be a resource to be shared by Israel and Jordan to supply peak demands to optimize their power-supply systems.

By the end of the 1990s, Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank, or Palestine, will overcommit or deplete virtually all of their renewable sources of fresh water if current patterns of consumption are not quickly or radically altered. In the circumstances, the Jordan River system, which includes the Al-Wuheda dam scheme on the Yarmouk River, unquestionably holds the greatest potential for either conflict or compromise. In the southern Ghor of the Dead Sea catchment, the driest area of the Jordan valley, with annual rainfall less than 50-100 mm, there has been substantial water demand to develop the region, but no alternative source of fresh water has been found in the area. M&I water demand in and around the Dead Sea is about 100 million m per year, including increasingly demands for the mining industry (potash works), agro-industry, and resort hotels. The product water of 100 million m per year from hydro-powered RO desalination could be mainly used for M&I water supply with the exclusive aim of supplying water in the southern Ghor (Jordan valley) in the twenty-first century.

All the water-resource development schemes on the Jordan River system, including the proposed Al-Wuheda dam and side-wad) dams, should be linked with the Mediterranean-Dead Sea conduit scheme in the context of an interstate basin-development master plan to promote economic development in Jordan, Palestine, and Israel through sharing of resources and benefits.

The basic framework for allocation of Jordan River water is enshrined in the "Main Plan: 1953" and the "Johnston Plan: 1955," which were negotiated by the United Nations but never formally endorsed by the governments concerned. Flow diagrams and water allocation of the Jordan River system are illustrated in figs. 5.10-5.13, including the 1955 Johnston Plan (fig. 5.10), unilateral Jordan River development as now (fig. 5.11), ongoing or postponed projects that involve political and/or financial constraints (fig. 5.12), and new schemes proposed for a 1991 integrated joint development plan that includes the MDS conduit scheme for co-generation and side-wad) dam scheme for flood retention and groundwater recharge in the West Bank (fig. 5.13). The framework for a new inter-state Jordan River development plan for the twenty-first century as conceived in this study would build into the 1955 Unified (Johnston) Plan the new engineering proposal for hydro-powered RO desalination in the MDS conduit scheme, which would not only provide additional fresh water and clean energy (electricity) in the driest area but would promote integrated economic development between Israel, Palestine, and Jordan as a basis for lasting peace.

Fig. 5.10 Jordan River system wafer allocation - Johnston Plan: 1955

Fig. 5.11 Unilateral Jordan River system development-current situation

It should be recognized that issues of the security of water resources and inter-state riparian problems of the Jordan River system, including Israel's heavy dependence on water supply from the underground aquifer that underlies the West Bank, have been some of the reasons why Israel could not withdraw from the areas occupied since 1967. Thus, without resolution of these inter-state water resources problems, no settlement of the PalestineIsrael and Arab-Israel problems can be achieved.

Table 5.2 shows a proposed model of inter-state water allocation including the proposed non-conventional development alternatives.

Implementation of inter-state basin development and management of the Jordan system will not be a complicated matter of water politics, for which some ideas of inter-state regional economic development are further discussed in the following section and Appendices C and D.

Fig. 5.12 Jordan River system developmentongoing and postponed projects


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