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Conclusions: Water basin analysis and the Jordan River watershed

In this chapter, I have brought together the general approach to water conflict analysis, as developed in chapter 3, and the site-specific lessons learned from the history of the Jordan River watershed to try to gain insight into how both the water crisis - the shortage of water within the basin - and the water conflict - the political tensions attendant on the lack of water - might be resolved.

In the first section of the chapter, I looked at the initial conditions of the watershed - that is, who are the actors, and what are their political concerns and future water needs. I then applied the framework for water basin evaluation that was developed in chapter 3, to the Jordan River watershed. The evaluation suggested a four-stage process for water basin development.

The final section offered three examples of cooperation-inducing design. The first two dealt with proposed water allocations, one between all of the riparians dependent on the Jordan, and the second focusing on Israeli and Palestinian concerns regarding the mountain aquifer on the West Bank. The final example was a project for regional desalination that might be designed specifically to induce cooperation.

As mentioned in chapter 3, by combining lessons from a variety of disciplines, new options for conflict resolution can become apparent. This chapter showed, through concrete examples of the planning and project opportunities suggested for a watershed enmeshed in deep and intractable conflict, how this may be so. Had I looked at the options for water transfers, for example, solely on the basis of the technical or economic merits, they would have looked fairly similar to each other. By including political viability, however, I was able to determine, at least tentatively, which plan suggested greater viability at this point in time. By including the guidelines from the history of the basin with lessons taught by ADR and political science, I was able to offer new approaches to resolve the fairly intractable positions on water conflicts that have lasted for decades.

Each of the disciplines that provides a measure for the analysis of water conflict offers an important component of an integrated evaluation of the options open to the riparians of a watershed under conflict. Working in concert, however, they offer new ways around entrenched impasses and may help to provide a path for ancient enmities finally to be laid aside.

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