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Cooperation-inducing implementation: Three examples
4.4.1 Towards an agreement for sharing existing resources
4.4.2 Negotiations over the mountain aquifer
4.4.3 A Med-Dead or Red-Dead Canal as a cooperation-inducing desalination project
Given the vital need for a regional water development plan that would incorporate the political realities of the region, as well as the limitations imposed by economics and hydrology, possible steps that might be taken have been described in the above four-stage process for regional water development. Even if the riparians of the Jordan River watershed were to agree to the above process, only the regional water crisis - that is the lack of water in basin for anticipated needs - would be addressed; the water conflict the political tensions attendant on the lack of water- would remain.
The foregoing survey of history, as well as the lessons provided in the sections on political science and ADR, suggest that cooperation-inducing strategies might be incorporated in the process of implementation as well. This section offers three examples of cooperation-inducing implementation. General guidelines, as formulated in chapter 3, include the following:
The three examples of cooperation-inducing implementation are taken from throughout the four stages of basin development described above: (1) towards an agreement for sharing existing resources; (2) cooperation over the mountain aquifer, and (3) a cooperation-inducing regional desalination plan.
Towards an agreement for sharing existing resources
The first stage of the four-stage process for water basin development is the need for an agreement on allocation of the existing resources. This was described as necessary both to address past and present grievances, and as a prerequisite to market-oriented solutions to water use efficiency. Although special envoy Eric Johnston negotiated such an agreement between Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan in an extensive process from 1953 to 1955, the agreement was never ratified. Forty years later, the agreement is somewhat outdated. The Palestinians were not considered a separate entity at the time and, consequently, they received no explicit allocation. Furthermore, the issue of groundwater, which has since become a point of contention, was not considered. In this section, I consider updated guidelines for allocation of the water of the Jordan River watershed. Emphasis is on Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza.
One issue at the heart of the negotiating process for allocations will be each party's definition of "equity," as perceived by the attending parties. As "equity" is a vague and relative term in any event, its criteria are particularly difficult to determine in water conflicts, where international legal guidelines are poorly developed. Some of the criteria by which water conflicts have been assessed by legal authorities and in past negotiations include the following (taken from Bilder , Cano , Caponera , Rogers , and the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information [IPCRI] ).
- Absolute sovereignty. A state has absolute rights to water flowing through its borders.
- Riparian rights. Any territory along a riverway has rights to a relatively unchanged river.
- Prior appropriation. "First in time, first in right."
- Optimum development of the river basin. The basin is considered a single hydrologic unit, and it is incumbent upon states to develop it accordingly.
- Reasonable share, equitable use, or relative sovereignty. Provides rights dependent on some or all of the above criteria, but is difficult to interpret.
- Economic efficiency. The ability to achieve the most return per unit water achieves "rights" through the invisible hand of the free market.
- Rights proportional to the amount of water source within a nation's territory.
- Equal per capita allocation to each of the riparian states.
- In absence of any agreement on the above, force is sometimes used to achieve "equity," at least as perceived by the party with the greater power.
The issue is further convoluted by the question of whether or not areas within a riparian state but outside the watershed boundary should be included for consideration.
Another important issue to be taken into account for successful negotiations is the matter of "control." Water for personal needs and subsistence agriculture is clearly a most fundamental human need. In addition, much of a nation's economy can depend on a reliable source of water for export agriculture and industry. Consequently, the need for control of a stable source of water in an environment of hostile co-riparians can be urgent and absolute in relevant foreign policy decisions, and many of the obstacles to past water negotiations have been over this issue. During the Johnston negotiations, the Unified Arab position strenuously resisted any storage of the Yarmuk (which rises in Syria and Jordan) in the Sea of Galilee (lying wholly in Israel), although it was shown to be less expensive than building a new storage facility. Israel, in turn, objected to international control of annual allocations as an "infringement of sovereignty." In more recent years, Israel has resisted proposals of water imports from such sources as Egypt and Turkey. Reacting to President Anwar Sadat's offer in 1979 to bring Nile water to the Negev Desert, the then Israeli Minister of Agriculture, Ariel Sharon, expressed a common aversion to the lack of control, as mentioned earlier: "I would hate to be in a situation," he is quoted as saying, "in which the Egyptians could close our taps whenever they wished" (cited in Spector and Gruen 1980).
In short, between the two formidable issues of equity and control, negotiations would be contentious with conflicting claims and criteria for evaluation. The approach, outlined below, that Eric Johnston took to these two issues might offer lessons to current negotiations.
Johnston measured equity by what each state could reasonably use in the future on its irrigable land within the watershed line. This gave a concrete measurement by which his proposed allocations were achieved. Once the allocations were reached, each state could do what it wished with the water, including transferring it out of basin. This was not only an acceptable formula to the parties at the time but it allowed for a breakthrough in negotiations when a land survey of Jordan concluded that its future water needs were lower than previously thought. Agricultural water needs would no longer be as relevant a measure, with current emphasis on meeting future personal consumption and industrial requirements, but the concept of developing an objective measure for future demand is still applicable.
The ultimate measure of water demand is that for personal consumption, and populations are beginning to approach the point where all of the annual renewable supplies of a watershed will be allocated first to that need (Shovel 1991; interview, Meier Ben-Meier, December 1991). Figure 4.1 shows schematically the attendant conceptual shift in water management from the traditional model, where water from the primary source is used once and then lost, to an intensive management model, where water is used sequentially for several needs and managed constantly for the most appropriate use for its quality.
Natural annual water availability in those entities dependent on the Jordan River watershed - Israel, Jordan, the West Bank, and Gaza is approximately 2,500 MCM/yr. This amount reflects the natural supply of renewable fresh water (what might be called the primary water source). It includes usable rainfall, melted snow, and the renewable recharge to shared aquifers, and excludes secondary sources such as reclaimed waste water, desalination, fossil or saline groundwater, and freshwater aquifers lying wholly within any state. At an annual allocation of 100 m3 per capita, all of this amount would be used first for personal consumption when the combined Israeli/Jordanian/Palestinian population reaches 25 million, as is expected by the first half of the twenty-first century. Water for agriculture and industry then will have to come entirely from waste-water reuse, desalination, or water transfers.
Fig. 4.1 Traditional and intensive water management
It is not difficult to calculate population projections that will provide percentages for each entity of the total population, and then to apply those proportions to the primary water source. In the above example, when the combined population reaches 25 million, the population by entity will be about 10 million each in Israel and Jordan, 3 million in the West Bank, and 2 million in Gaza. Applying these proportions to the water supply, 1,000 MCM/yr would be allocated to each of Israel and Jordan, 300 MCM/yr to the West Bank, and 200 MCM/yr to Gaza. The comparison between current and proposed allocations is shown in table 4.4. It should be stressed that these values are estimates for illustration only. The actual allocations would have to be negotiated between the parties involved. In addition, the allocations are based on average amounts, and do not consider variability in water quality and development costs for each source, nor do they
Table 4.4 Estimated allocations of primary source of water supply on the basis of population projections
These allocations could be reached gradually, allowing each entity both time and incentive to develop the most productive combination of reuse and new sources to provide for agricultural and industrial needs. Furthermore, once these allocations are established as property rights, international water markets or technology-for-water transfers can be established to allow market forces to help determine the most efficient water distributions and applications. As mentioned earlier, water per se is a zero-sum commodity, while the benefits that water can provide are variable, and therefore traceable for integrative ("win-win") solutions. As an example, the stated allocations would increase Palestinian water supplies and decrease those to Israel. Since Palestinians currently use significantly less water per capita than Israelis, they could sell surplus supplies to Israel or exchange them for water-saving technology, arrangements that would encourage efficiency on both sides. Water negotiations would be combined with issues of immigration and population growth, which will have to be dealt with in any event in the course of regional peace talks.
Johnston also addressed the issue of control, eventually allowing for as much of a state's water allocation as possible to originate within its borders. For example, Israel's allocation came mostly from the Jordan River headwaters, while Jordan's share was to come from the Yarmuk. He also addressed the related issue of variability in annual water supply by determining which of the participants' water source was defined as "residue," that is, to be allocated after the other states had received their share.
Although these allocations will have to be newly negotiated, the principles of the original negotiations could be retained. For example, the bulk of the water allocated to Israel and Jordan could still originate from the Jordan and Yarmuk, respectively, and the majority of Palestinian sources would come from the groundwater that their territories overlie.
Table 4.5 Safe yield and current use of components of the mountain aquifer
|Aquifer||Yield (MCM/yr)||Consumption (MCM/yr)|
Negotiations over the mountain aquifer
As outlined in the description of each party's initial position at the beginning of this chapter, as well as in chapter 2, one of the most contentious issues between Israelis and Palestinians is the status of the mountain aquifer. By closely examining the claims of both Israel and West Bank Palestinians to this groundwater, insight might be gained on how to resolve this aspect of the water conflict.
As noted earlier, the mountain aquifer is actually three hydrogeologic units, all three of which recharge in the Judaean Hills on the West Bank - the western aquifer, which flows west to Israel and the Mediterranean; the eastern aquifer, which flows towards the Jordan River; and the north-east aquifer, which flows towards the Jezreel Valley. Their annual "safe yield" and current use is as shown in table 4.5. Total consumption within the west Bank is 35 MCM/yr, mostly from wells, for Israeli settlements, and 115 MCM/yr, from wells and cisterns, for Palestinians.
The initial claims by each party for these aquifers, including legal ambiguities, are detailed in chapter 2, as is a note of warning on the concept of "safe yield" (see chap. 2, footnote 1). In general, the positions can be summarized as follows.
Israel considers its historic rights to the water it currently uses to be irrevocable. Israel has been pumping the western aquifer from its side of the Green Line since 1955, and views with trepidation the loss of upgradient control of this aquifer. Measures taken to restrict Palestinian pumping on the West Bank are viewed as defensive, necessary to protect the quantity and quality of Israeli wells. The Ministry of Agriculture has claimed that control of the water resources on the entire West Bank is necessary to protect Israeli water. The total amount claimed is 445 MCM/yr, together with control of water resources development over the entire West Bank.
Palestinians have claimed first right to all of the water that originates on the West Bank (see, for example, Zarour and Isaac 1992) and have objected to Israeli controls. Palestinians were also to receive 70-150 MCM/yr from the Jordanian share of the Johnston negotiations. The total amount claimed is 655735 MCM/yr, together with control over water resources development over all of the West Bank.
The issue of water quantity was dealt with in the previous section. It would be difficult to accept either the Palestinian claim to all of the water originating on the West Bank, or the Israeli claim to 75 per cent of it. I suggest again future per capita needs as a basis for both claims. By this token, West Bank Palestinians would gain rights to a total of 300 MCM/yr, compared with the current use of 115 MCM/yr. Israel would go from a total current allocation from all sources of 1,500 MCM/yr to 1,000 MCM/yr, the loss to be made up through desalination, waste-water reclamation, interbasin transfers, or water purchases. Cuts would be made from a variety of sources, as described below.
The remaining issue is control. In chapter 2, I examined the Israeli claim that control over all of the West Bank is necessary for its "water security" and found the claim hydrologically lacking. Because of the flow of groundwater, and the depth to the water-table at the water divide, it would be difficult for Palestinians to impact Israeli wells in the western aquifer if they acquired control to the eastern aquifer. Further, because of the great depth of the watertable in the Judaean Hills, Israeli water managers have suggested that control might be relinquished to as much as two-thirds of the area overlying the western aquifer, with their water supply still guaranteed.
In turn, the Palestinian claim to control of the water resources of the entire West Bank is also difficult to accept. Just as Israelis must come to accept the Palestinian need for control, Palestinians must recognize Israeli concerns for water security. If the above water allocations are accepted, at least 400 MCM/yr of Israeli water would still originate on the West Bank, and Israel would be remiss in not guaranteeing its future supply before relinquishing control.
Several steps might address the twin concerns of Palestinian control and Israeli water security. The first might be to emphasize surface water development on the West Bank. As mentioned, Jordan still "owes" the West Bank 70-150 MCM/yr from the Johnston accords. Although Jordan has its own water deficit, this water might be acquired through a series of water exchanges, as described below.
Another step might be to take advantage of topography to give mutual guarantees of Palestinian and Israeli supplies. As mentioned earlier, because of the disparate depths to the water-table near the Mediterranean coast and in the Judaean Hills, and the difference in efficiency between wells and surfacedelivery systems, it is cheaper to pump water from the mountain aquifer at the Israeli wells and then pipe it to the hills of the West Bank, than it is to pump directly in the hills. This suggests a mutually dependent system of water delivery, where Palestinian water is pumped at Israeli wells, then piped to Palestinian users. Since the Palestinians are upgradient and can threaten Israeli supplies, both parties would have a "hand on the tap," and therefore each would have an incentive to cooperate.
The final step to address the issue of control would focus on the problem of water quality and the threat to its degradation. Israeli concerns over upgradient Palestinian control extend beyond threats to water quantity and include dangers to water quality. Palestinian industrial development could threaten the quality of water in Israeli wells, even unintentionally; however, as for water quantity, some sites on the West Bank are more susceptible to groundwater contamination than others. A joint Israeli-Palestinian committee to establish zones of groundwater susceptibility, investigating soil type, rock formation, and groundwater flow movement, might allow Israel more confidence to release control. In turn, it might provide Palestinians with a useful basis for a plan for development on the West Bank, which would help protect their own water supplies.
Any combination of the above steps for addressing both Palestinian concerns for control and Israeli needs for security could help break a difficult impasse. Each approach might also have repercussions on other water conflicts. Some possible combinations are outlined below.
The first possibility is that Israel gives up claim to the eastern side of the mountain aquifer in favour of Palestinian control. In exchange, Jordan accedes to some Israeli claims on the Yarmuk (which can then be supplied by gravity to Israeli settlements in the Jordan valley), and Syria agrees to allow more Yarmuk water to flow to Jordan and Is reel. Turkey might increase Euphrates flow to Syria by the relatively small amount that would be foregone.
Alternatively, Israel waives its claim to the Yarmuk in exchange for Jordan retaking responsibility to supply the West Bank with ample surface water for its development needs, which in turn alleviates Israeli concerns over Palestinian groundwater exploitation.
Either of the above agreements would allow the Unity Dam to proceed. During construction, Israel allows Jordan to store Yarmuk winter run-off in the Sea of Galilee, thereby not only allowing a stable Jordanian water supply during the dry summer months but also reducing the salinity levels in Israel's main reservoir.
Negotiations would then focus on the western mountain aquifer, and on methods of joint inspection and planning between Israelis and Palestinians, as described earlier.
A Med-Dead or Red-Dead Canal as a cooperation-inducing desalination project
A final example of cooperation-inducing design involves plans for a large-scale regional desalination project. In guidelines from history we noted that "the more complex a project is technically, the more complex it is politically." Although at first pass the project that follows is fairly complex, it will be argued that, if attention is paid to detail, it can be designed as a series of smaller projects, each with the potential to be developed more fully and with increasing cooperation as technical and political developments occur.
What follows is a conceptual proposal for a regional desalination complex, including sections on (1) background (the Agro-Industrial Complex [1960s] and the Med-Dead Canal [1980s]), (2) project description, (3) economic considerations, (4) environmental impacts, and (5) implementation in the framework of a regional water development plan.
Historical background: The Agro-lndustrial Complex and the MedDead Canal
Immediately after the Six-Day War of 1967, Dwight D. Eisenhower (by then a private citizen), Lewis Strauss of the Atomic Energy Commission, and Alvin Weinberg, Director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratories, developed a "water for peace" proposal on a massive scale, including a series of nuclear desalination plants in the Middle East that would provide power and water for immense agro-indus trial complexes, to ease the political tensions caused by refugees and water scarcity (Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Summary Report 1971; Strauss 1967).
The plan was given a boost by Senate Resolution 155, sponsored by Senator Howard Baker, which supported development at three likely sites in Egypt, Israel, and Jordan. Recently declassified reports show that a fourth site, at Gaza, was also planned in conjunction with a project for refugee resettlement (Oak Ridge National Laboratories, Gaza Area 1970) (see appendix I, map 26.) As described earlier, the plan faltered on political and economic grounds, along with the dangers of introducing nuclear technology to the region. Nevertheless, two years of cooperative research between Americans, Arabs, and Israelis, showed that, on the technical level at least, cooperation over regional water resources and planning was possible.
Fifteen years later, in the early 1980s, the Israelis began planning a canal designed primarily for hydropower by bringing Mediterranean sea water across the Negev Desert and under the Judaean Hills to drop it 400 m to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the earth. The 800 MW of electricity that would have been made available by this Med-Dead Canal would, by itself, just have been worth the cost of the project, estimated at US$1,500-$5,000 million, but the benefits of several ancillary projects, made possible by the salt water for cooling or artificial lakes, added viability to the scheme (Mediterranean-Dead Sea Company Ltd 1983). That project was finally shelved, mostly on the question of the final cost. Although it was an exciting project, the Med-Dead Canal focused on power generation, rather than water, and was politically unilateral, bringing benefits only to Israel (see appendix I, map 32). In fact, Palestinians objected to the intake, proposed for Qatif, because of a belief that it would further integrate Gaza with Israel. Jordan protested about the anticipated rise in the level of the shared Dead Sea, and three separate resolutions condemning the proposal were brought before the UN General Assembly. Jordan took the opportunity, however, to investigate the possibility of a similar (and even more short-lived) proposal of its own the "Red-Dead" Canal.
The best aspects of the two types of projects - the regional approach and emphasis on international cooperation of the Agro-Industrial Complex and the comparatively safe energy applications of the Med-Dead Canal - might be combined and expanded for a new hybrid pro ject for water and power for the 1990s. The project, in turn, could be incorporated in a badly needed regional water development plan for the Middle East.
The core of the complex would be either a Med-Dead or a Red-Dead Canal, with a new emphasis on desalination fuelled by hydropower and augmented with solar and conventional energy generation. Whereas the original plans were focused on power generation and unilateral development, a new approach would make available power and water, both fresh and salt, for agriculture, fish and algae ponds, industry, and even recreation on artificial lakes, in sparsely populated areas, to the benefit of populations from Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Gaza, and the West Bank. The scope of the project could be expanded, depending on cost, financing, and on which of the countries and territories of the region would become involved, with greater benefits accruing with larger scale. Although more groundwork has been done on the Med-Dead route, most of the components of the project are feasible with either location, should the Red-Dead route become more technically or politically attractive. Either way, the focus on water, rather than on power, and an emphasis on cooperative regional development over unilateral benefits, may add both economic and political viability to the original evaluations.
The Med-Dead salt-water canal would have been located in a particularly opportune position to foster regional cooperation (see appendix I, maps 4 and 32). The intake would have been located in or near the Gaza Strip - the site both of some of the most squalid and densely populated refugee camps in the world, and of severe groundwater overpumping. The canal would have run parallel to the Egyptian-Israeli border. Were these two countries to set aside some of this sparsely populated land, power and water from the project could be routed to a trinational (Egyptian/Israeli/Palestinian) agro-industrial site in the Negev-Sinai deserts. A Red-Dead route would likewise provide the opportunity for a Jordanian/Israeli/Palestinian complex. Ample agricultural land exists along both routes, limited currently by the lack of a freshwater supply. A large plain south and east of Gaza and El-Arish, the Plain of Pelusium, was one site suggested for an agroindustrial complex (and, in 1902, as the possible site of a Jewish State) because of its suitability for a wide variety of agriculture. Similar tracts exist further inland in both the Sinai and Negev deserts if the intake were placed at Qatif, as planned for the Med-Dead Canal.
For a Red-Dead route, agriculture and industry could be developed in the Arava Valley on both sides of the Israel-Jordan border. The minimal development in this region has been limited only by a steady supply of fresh water. Both Israel and Jordan are currently attempting to overcome the natural limits through water transfers: both foresee this area as the eventual terminus of their respective national water carriers. Joint development and a local water supply could eliminate the need for redundant planning and piping.
Either project, as originally envisioned, would be ideally suited for clean power generation. Not only could clean hydropower be generated at the Dead Sea, but this could be augmented by high-temperature solar generation of electricity. The region has 300 cloudless days a year.
The crucial contribution of the project, however, would be water-with power being a useful by-product. Current research into the concept of solar ponds suggests that water of two distinct salinities will trap heat in the lower, denser layer. The heat differential can be exploited to power turbines, or to fuel distillation desalination. The relatively less-saline water of the Mediterranean or Red Sea would provide the cover to a lower, more saline level of Dead Sea water. A 5 MW demonstration plant recently went on line at the Dead Sea. One estimate is that the Dead Sea itself could support a 450 km2 solar lake, operating a 2,500 MW power plant, if the less-saline water were made available. If a dual-purpose plant for power generation and distillation desalination were to be built at the intake (as proposed along the Israeli coast or at Aqaba in any event), the resulting brine from the desalination process could be used for smaller self-perpetuating solar pond/desalination plants all along the way to the Dead Sea. The project could thereby grow as power or water demand increased. The brine, which is a byproduct of any desalination process, would find use in the potash and salt works of both Israel and Jordan, already active at the Dead Sea.
The 400 m drop at the Dead Sea could be used not only for hydropower generation, but, in conjunction, could also be exploited for reverse-osmosis desalination - a pressure-dependent method using selective membranes adding even more fresh water as output. The cost of desalinated water would be sharply reduced if brackish water were used instead of sea water. As it happens, brackish fossil aquifers have recently been discovered in this area, in and below the Nubean sandstone formation underlying the Negev-Sinai deserts, which could be tapped for at least 300 MCM/yr into the twenty-first century. Re cent research at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev suggests that even more brackish-to-saline groundwater may be available in these aquifers than previously thought.
If enough fresh water became available, it could be exported to other areas of chronic shortage such as the West Bank or Jordanian cities. The water itself need not be piped to these regions; rather, water provided at Gaza or in the Negev would allow for a water reallocation from the northern sources of the Jordan River, abundant but currently fully exploited, to be substituted. Additional Yarmuk water could go to Amman, for example, or more of the storage in the Sea of Galilee could be allocated to Haifa or Ramallah. Cooperative planning would allow for greater alternatives for such reallocations and enable the most efficient and economical approach to be developed.
Such a Med-Dead, or Red-Dead, agro-industrial project would take advantage of sparsely populated lands for agricultural and industrial production utilizing two ports (Gaze and/or Eilat/Aqaba), add impetus to regional cooperation and refugee resettlement, and help to alleviate the area's water shortage.
Because of the currently relatively high cost of water produced through desalination, the complex might become a showcase for the cutting edge of desalination techniques and efficient water use. If these techniques were investigated jointly between researchers from the region and abroad, the results could have application in arid regions around the world. Employment at all levels would also be provided for dangerously underemployed populations, such as Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank and immigrant Israelis from Ethiopia and the Soviet Union. New sources of water and power would provide opportunities for a range of ancillary projects, from inland power plants to artificial lake resorts to salt-water aquaculture. These projects could induce population inward away from the crowded coast and might eventually support entire towns.
Either route would face clear obstacles in terms of political viability. One optimistic note, however, is that proponents of both the Med-Dead and the Red-Dead Canal include prominent nationalists on both sides of the Jordan River. The former Israeli Minister of Science and Technology, Yuval Ne'eman of the right-wing Tehiya party, has been actively supporting the MedDead Canal since its inception, while Jordanian Crown Prince Hassan has been a principal advocate of the Red-Dead Canal.
The project, as described, would not be cheap. The original agro-industrial complex was estimated at about US$1,000 million (1967), and this was before nuclear plant decommissioning costs were included in the analyses. The MedDead Canal costs were estimated as from US$1,500 to US$5,000 million (1982), even without the ancillary projects. Nevertheless, both original projects were calculated to break even at least, in benefit-cost analyses. It is assumed that a cooperative project, presented in the context of a Middle East working towards peace, would provide for several factors, outlined below, to help tilt the balance in the project's favour.
First, such a project would undoubtedly spark the interest, and induce the financing, of agencies and individuals interested in fostering Middle East cooperation. US, European, or World Bank grants or soft loans would add economic viability to the project. Adding "induced cooperation" as a benefit to water project evaluations (as yet unrecognized, at least by the World Bank) would help even further. The joint research and development components for desalination technology and efficient water use would qualify the project for the Middle East Regional Cooperation (MERC) Program of USAID.
Second, even without an anticipated Marshall Plan for a Middle East at peace, one might assume a certain "peace dividend" from countries no longer locked in a regional arms race, which might be reallocated to peaceful development. Water resource development is high on the list of priorities for all parties in the region, particularly in the light of both imminent and ongoing influxes of immigrants and refugees. Pooled investment resources and planning would allow for greater flexibility in design and, consequently, for greater economic efficiency in development.
Third, if Saudi Arabia or other Gulf states backed the scheme, their support might come in the form of inexpensive oil or natural gas for conventional power generation, with co-generation of desalination capability. This could substantially reduce the cost of these components of the project.
Fourth, although a 30-year project life was assumed in the calculations for the original Med-Dead Canal, there is no reason that this has to be the case. The flow rate of the canal will have to be cut back after a 20-year "filling period" when the Dead Sea reaches its historic level, but even then, a flow of 1,250 MCM/yr, which will just match evaporation rates, will not require too sharp a drop in power generation. Unlike a nuclear power plant, or even a dam, a Med-Dead or RedDead Canal, with the proper maintenance, could function indefinitely. Once the project has been amortized, power and water generation would become extraordinarily inexpensive (after Weinberg 1985).
As with all grand schemes, the environmental assessments would need to be honest and rigorous. Many such projects have passed muster with benefitcost analyses conceived by the proponents, which deliberately or inadvertently ignored environmental costs. It is heartening that those who performed the environmental impact statement for the original Med-Dead Canal seem to have had their hearts in their work. "With the onset of fall," they wrote of the Jordan Valley plants, "the leaves turn yellow and colour the river landscape. The Jordan tamarisk is evergreen and colours the landscape with its pinkish-white blooms in the spring and summer..."
But the risks will come not just directly, from the movement of salt water through fragile desert ecosystems, but also indirectly, from inland population movement or from the necessary infrastructure, for example. Other risks include the unknown consequences of mixing water from two chemically distinct bodies - one researcher suggests that the result may be floating clumps of plaster of Paris in the Dead Sea. These risks will have to be accounted for throughout the project's implementation. A key element would be to include costs of environmental externalities from the beginning.
One clear environmental benefit of the project would be the restoration of the Dead Sea to its historic level. Before the national water projects of Israel and Jordan began diverting fresh water upstream in the 1960s, the inflow to the Dead Sea of fresh water just matched the rate of evaporation, and the lake level remained fairly constant. Since that time, the level has dropped 10 m, with an accompanying reduction in surface area. Early diversion schemes, from the turn of the century onward (Theodore Hertzl described a Med-Dead Canal in Altneuland ), each included an attendant project to ameliorate the effects of the loss of inflow to the terminal lake. Without such a project, the Dead Sea will continue both to drop and to shrink. Although not much wildlife is being affected in the Sea - except for bacteria, the Dead Sea is appropriately named - potash works and health resorts on both shores have had to contend with the costs of an increasingly distant shoreline. The lake would be restored after about 20 years, after which the amount of Mediterranean inflow would be pared back to equal the natural evaporation rate.
A dispersion of populations away from the congested and increasingly polluted population centres may also reduce health risks, especially from air pollution. Furthermore, the canal would allow an emphasis on solar desalination techniques, which are significantly less polluting than the planned alternative of coal-fired dual-purpose plants.
Environmental issues may help to determine the most desirable route for the project. It should be noted, for example, that the Med-Dead route would take a salt-water tunnel directly through the heart of the mountain aquifer of the Judaean Hills, on which the entire West Bank population is dependent and Israel relies for 40 per cent of its water supply. The possibility of potential environmental degradation effectively blocked an earlier proposal for a canal project through the Jezreel and Jordan valleys.
Cooperation-inducing stages of implementation in the framework of a regional water development plan
Once the legal and economic foundations have been laid for ownership and distribution of current sources, and the existing water supply and demand system is functioning at its most efficient (as described above), a project of the scope of a Med-Dead or Red-Dead Canal can begin to be implemented. At this point, too, it will be important to approach the project in stages, checking constantly for economic and engineering (including environmental) viability, and using each step to induce cooperation towards completion of the whole (see appendix VI).
The first phase can begin immediately, even as peace negotiations are in progress. A traditional (coal-fired) dual-purpose energy/desalination plant could be built in Gaza, the most parched of the areas under discussion. (The plant would be at Aqaba for a Red-Dead route.) Either way it would be designed both to be expandable, as need grows, and to serve later as the intake site for the Canal. Meanwhile, a pumped-storage facility would be built at the Dead Sea for Israeli or joint Israeli-Jordanian use. Such a facility pumps water up to a higher level of storage during off-peak hours, then generates hydropower electricity when demand is at its peak. This facility, too, can be designed to be incorporated in a Canal project, for hydro power generation with Mediterranean or Red Sea water. Both of these projects have already been in the planning stages for some time but coordination would be important to be able to proceed to the next phase.
Once the intake and the power generation facility are in place, even under different sovereignties, the incentive to connect the two and, later, to develop the consequent ancillary projects, would, one hopes, be powerful enough to help induce ever-increasing cooperation. Only when the two are linked would solar-pond desalination, (both at the Dead Sea and along the way), reverseosmosis desalination, aquaculture, and inland industry, be feasible.
The Canal project could not only be ideally suitable for development in such a stepwise fashion, dependent on increasing confidence-building incentives, but it could also be expandable, designed to incorporate additional components as power and water needs grow in the future.
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