All across the Jordan: Transboundary Master Planning of the Lower Jordan River Basin

 
 

Project Duration:

 

Project Countries:

 

Project Supporters:

 

 

Project Partners:

February 2012 – Juni 2015

 

Palestine, Jordan, Israel

 

European Commission in the frame of the Programme Sustainable Water Integrated Management (SWIM), Foundation Ursula Merz

 

EcoPeace Middle East (formerly Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME)); Water and Environmental Development Organization (WEDO); Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)

 

Award (July 2015)

EcoPeace is selected as one of three finalists in the Thiess International River Prize, for its efforts in advancing rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River

Regional NGO Master Plan for Sustainable Development in the Jordan Valley - Final Report (June 2015)

Regional NGO Master Plan for Sustainable Development in the Jordan Valley

 

International Conference on Sustainable Development in the Jordan Valley (November 2014), in English
Conference Proceedings as Download Data

 

Declaration of Non Governmental Organizations Supporting the Rehabilitation and the Sustainable Development of the Jordan River (May 2014), in English

Declaration as Download Data

 

Press Coverage 2011 - present on the webpage of EcoPeace Middle East for the Project Jordan River Rehabilitation

Background

The Lower Jordan River – a major landmark in the Middle East – threatens to dry up. Of the 1.3 billion cubic meters of water, which would naturally flow in the river, more than 96 % is diverted for agricultural and domestic uses by the neighbouring countries. This, in addition to agricultural run-off and the discharge of large quantities of untreated sewage and saline water into the river, has not only done great damage to the river itself, but also to the area’s unique ecosystem and the 500 million migratory birds that rest in the Jordan River Valley twice each year. Furthermore, the Dead Sea, which relies on the Lower Jordan River as its primary water source, has reached a critical point of damage from the almost complete lack of fresh water flowing into it from the river. Both the European Union and the United States Senate have passed resolutions voicing concern over the deterioration of the river and calling on the Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian governments to make rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River a priority.

 

Against this background, Global Nature Fund, Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) / Water and Environment Development Agency (WEDO), and the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), came together in 2012 to develop the first ever transboundary integrated NGO master plan for the Lower Jordan River. The rehabilitation of the river has been a central aim of FoEME since its foundation in 1994. Through political advocacy campaigns, major research, and regional rehabilitation efforts, real changes have already been made. In May 2013, for instance, Israel’s Water Authority declared that water will regularly be pumped from Lake Kinneret into the Lower Jordan River. This year, around 6 million cubic meters will flow into the river and the plan is to increase the inflow to 30 million cubic meters per year. This development is a promising start: for the first time Israel is willing to “waste” precious fresh water on nature conservation. However, this amount of water is not enough to replenish a river of the size like the Jordan. A study  conducted by FoEME concludes that 400 - 600 million cubic meters of high quality water per year are needed to rehabilitate the Lower Jordan River. Furthermore, FoEME assessed that dedicated water saving and water demand management projects may save / generate up to a billion cubic meters of water.

Project Objectives

 

The project “All across the Jordan: Transboundary Master Planning of the Lower Jordan River Basin” lays the groundwork for an effective transboundary water governance in the Lower Jordan River Basin. This project puts together internationally renowned experts of transboundary water management, local stakeholders, citizen participants, and NGOs from the three riparian countries. The objectives of this project are:

 

1) to create a transboundary integrated regional master plan for the river basin and

 

2) to advance the political will for adopting this NGO master plan by Palestinian, Jordanian, and Israeli authorities.

 

Overall this project will contribute significantly to more dialogue and collaboration between Israel, Palestine, and Jordan, consequently contributing to the peace process in the conflict over water in the Middle-East.

Measures

Throughout the duration of the project, the partners will engage in the following activities:

  • Produce the technical, mapping, scientific, and other studies required for a comprehensive LJR basin Master Plan.
  • Host national and regional meetings of government representatives and other stakeholders.
  • Hold 6 major conferences and seminars during the planning process.
  • Publish Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli National Master Plans for the LJR along with the Integrated Trans-Boundary Regional NGO Master Plan.
  • Conduct visibility and public education campaigns targeting beneficiaries, and political advocacy efforts to advance political will toward adoption of the Master Plan.
 Regional NGO Master Plan for Sustainable Development in the Jordan Valley
 Marion Hammerl, president of Global Nature Fund and of the Living Lakes Network, and Nancy Haddaden representing the Jordanian, Israeli and Palestinian teams of EcoPeace
 The meandering Jordan River.
 Measuring wtaer quality at Allenby 
(Photo: Eddie Gerald)
 Baptism at Kase el Yehud
 Withdrawl of water for irrigation
 Jordan River at Bethany
 Water sampliing near Allenby Bridge.
 Exhibition on the Jordan River at the United Nations Day in Bonn, October 2013
 

GNF’s role is to provide guidance for the development of the master plan based on its expertise on:

  1. European practices in transboundary water management and the transferable knowledge to elaborate the Master Plan for the Lower Jordan River,
  2. European experience in establishing  environmental flow criteria
  3. The best practices in EU water management regarding water reuse and alternative water resources and their transferability to the Lower Jordan River Basin.

In addition, GNF will be actively advocating for the Jordan River cause through media coverage and participation to various international water-related events and conferences. In September 2013, GNF and FoEME participated in the World Water Week in Stockholm organised by the Stockholm International Water Institute. This global water conference represents one of the world’s most prestigious events on water-related issues, bringing together more than 2,500 experts, practitioners, decision-makers, and business innovators. In 2013, the World Water Week was held under the theme “Water Cooperation – Building Partnerships” and thus represented a good platform to promote the transboundary NGO Master Plan. On October 19, GNF presented an exhibition on the rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River at the United Nations Day in Bonn. The exhibition attracted a lot of attention and thus helped raising awareness about the critical state of the Lower Jordan.

Contact

Marion Hammerl

Lake Constance Foundation

Phone: +49 (0) 77 32 - 99 95 - 45

E-Mail: marion.hammerl@bodensee-stiftung.org

 

Supporters

The project is supported by the European Commission in the frame of the Programme Sustainable Water Integrated Management (SWIM) and the Foundation Ursula Merz.

More information on this topic

Story about our Project (Deutsche Welle, August 27, 2012)

Author Vanessa O''Brien / hc; Editor Saroja Coelho

Webpage of EcoPeace Middle East (formerly Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME)): www.foeme.org

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