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News Hydro & political Baseline of the Upper Jordan River

The Association of the Friends of Ibrahim Abd el Al is pleased to announce the publication of the Hydropolitical Baseline of the Upper Jordan River, a study undertaken by the UEA Water Security Research Centre.

The Hydropolitical Baseline of the Upper Jordan River study examines the history and current politics of water use in the basin – specifically the Liddan, Banias and Hasbani sub-basins. An interdisciplinary lens interprets the archives of French and British authorities, Lebanese and Israeli river flow data, news media, interviews and unpublished official reports. Finding the distribution of the transboundary flows to be asymmetric in the extreme, the study investigates how the inequity has been achieved and is maintained. It also situates the Lebanon-Israel water conflict within the broader political conflict, and examines the effect of the 2006 war on water resources and water infrastructure. The study thus fills an important gap with significance to the wider Jordan River Basin (including Syria, Jordan and the West Bank and Gaza) – and lays the baseline for the river’s equitable use.

Amonst many other findings, the study:

  • Clearly establishes the physical basis for the Liddan as an international river;
  • Identifies significant knowledge gaps in the public domain of hydrology, hydro-geology, and water use;
  • Finds that transboundary groundwater flows are of greater volume than surface water flows;
  • Provides an estimate of use of the Upper Jordan River basin (surface water and groundwater, in million cubic metres per year): Syria – 0, Lebanon – about 11, Israel – 360 to 520;
  • Shows how control of water resources can be maintained with (the Golan – Banias and groundwater recharge of the Liddan) or without (e.g. the upper Hasbani) the control of territory, and other aspects of hydro-hegemony;
  • Identifies established and emerging narratives constructed about the flows, and discusses the implications of an Israeli discourse linking water with state security on resolution of the water conflict;
  • Evaluates the importance of control over water resources with the Israeli occupation of Ghajar and the Cheba’a Farms, alongside military and religious motives;
  • Documents the extensive damage to water resources and water infrastructure during the 2006 war, in violation of the laws of armed conflict;
  • Finds that mediation by the international diplomatic community during the 2002 Wazzani Springs dispute tended towards conflict management, and away from conflict resolution; and
  • Discusses the extent to which International Water Law may form the basis of equitable use and resolution of the water conflict.

The Executive Summary, Main Study and Annexes are available on the website of the UEA Water Security Research Centre.

Contact information Mark Zeitoun School of International Development + Water Security Research Centre University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK, NR2 1SF // Mrs. Imane ABD EL AL ARAB Association of the friends of Ibrahim Abd El Al, p.o. Box 11-4981 1107 2180 Beirut, Lebanon (email: ; )
Phone: +44 (0)1603 593232; m: +44 (0)774 686 3892 // +961-1-655898 Fax: +961-1-644 800
News type Inbrief
File link
Source of information Mark Zeitoun (DEV) / Copyright!©!2012, Association!of!the!Friends!of!Ibrahim!Abd!el!Al.
Geographical coverage Jordan, Lebanon,Palestine,Israel,
News date 31/01/2012
Working language(s) ENGLISH