Journ al of Geoscienc e a nd Environment Protection
2013. Vol.1, No.1, 1-8
Published Online February 2013 in SciRes (http://www.scirp .org/journal/gep) DOI:10.4236/gep.201 3.11001
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 1
Can Integrated Water Resources Management contribute to
sustainable peace in the Middle Eas t ?
Khaldoon A. M our ad1, Ronny Berndtsson2, Karin Aggestam3
1Department of Water Resources Engineering, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
2 Cent er for Middle Eastern Studies , Lund University, Lund, Sweden
3Department of Politi cal Science, Lun d, Swed en
Email: khaldoonm ourad@yah
Received January 30, Year (2013).
Water resources iss ue in the Middle Eas t is an import ant question r elated to the 4th June 1967 line i n the
Middle East peace process. This paper focuses on possibilities within the Integrated Water Resources
Mana gement (IW RM) ap proac h to contri but e to the peac e process b etween what is cal led Isra el and Arab
countries emphasizing fruitful cooperation to resolve the 4th June 1967 line issue. The paper shows that
star t of a possib le cooperat ion could be f ounded on inter est-bas ed negotiat ions and buil t on IWRM prin-
cipl es by a simpl e geograp hical a llocati on plan for the Lake Tiberias water together w ith a j oint environ-
mental pr otecti on plan t o bui ld cooper ation i nstea d of c onfront ati on and int egrat ion ins tea d of fra gmenta-
tion. In a better cooperative climate, withdrawing from the 4th June 1967 line could be a possibility be-
cause negotiation results would incur safer access to sustainable water resources and a comprehensive
Keywords: Lake Tiberias; Negotiat ions; Comprehensive peace
1 Introduction
Due to water scarcity, lack of water management and re-
gional cooperation, Middle East (ME) is considered a hot
spot in terms of water shortage and security. Water short-
age has affected regional relationships between countries
and their policies, especially in arid and semiarid regions.
Hence, many water-related problems could become more
serious in the near future, especially after realizing the
absence of the UN in solving such problems or implement-
ing its resolutions (242 and 338 resolutions are good exam-
ples). In this regard, history has shown that lack of fresh-
water supply may lead to instability that in turn creates
pol itical co nfli cts with in shar ed water reso u rces. In J anu ar y
2005, 18 people died in a clash between two ethnic groups
in southern Sudan over utilizing common rivers (Juizo,
Liden, & Vaz, 2006). After his visit to Darfur in 2007, the
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stated that ‘Darfur is
an environmental crisis - a conflict that grew at least in part
from desertification, ecological degradation and a scarcity
of resources, foremost among the water (Zeitoun & Miru-
machi, 2008). Access to and control of Shatt-al-Arab wa-
terway was one reason that led to the eight-year war be-
tween Iraq and Iran (1980-1988) (Workman, 1991). More-
over, water has been t he ro ots, means, and cau ses of war in
the Jordan River basin (Mimi & Sawalhi, 2003). In 1953,
the state of Israel (IS) made concrete plan s to divert Jordan
River and to pump water from Lake Tiberias by construc-
tion of the National Water Carrier (NWC) at northern parts
of Lake Tiberias. This resulted in Syria protesting to the
United Nation (UN). The UN, in turn, made IS changing
the intake place of the carrier in 1954 (Smith, 1966). The
U.S. p resident, E isenhower, sen t Eric Joh nston to solve the
water issue in the region. After his first proposal for water
allocation and under the objections of the Arab states,
Johnston proposed a unified plan as follows: 400 MCM
(million cubic meters) for IS, 720 MCM for Jordan, 35
MCM for Lebanon, and 132 MCM for Syria. Although the
plan was accepted it was not ratified and countries in the
region have continued to develop their water resources
ignoring other countries´ needs (Brooks, 1994; Wolf, 1996;
Murakami, 1995).
In 1964 IS had completed its NWC, which pumps an an-
nual water amount of 440 MCM for domestic use; another
100 MCM are pumped every year for agriculture purposes
(Courcier et al., 2005). In March, May, and August 1965 the
Israeli army attacked the diversion works in Syria, which
was one among other causes for 1967 war (Cooley, 1984).
After the 1967 war IS controlled half of the length of the
Yarmouk River (80 km), compared to 10 km before the war
(Murakami, 1995). Moreover, in the 1967 war the Israeli
army destroyed more than 140 Palestinian wells (Humphries,
2006), which again indicates that water was the most im-
portant factor leading to the war (Brooks, 1994). Further-
more, the Israeli occupation of Golan Heights and the 1982
Israeli invasion of Lebanon have given IS a full control of
the Jordan River flow and have increased their fresh water
supplies by almost 50%, especially when they included
Hasbani and Wazzani ri vers in thei r securit y zone (Hewedy,
1989). IS also aimed, during the 1982 invasion, at capturing
the Litani water and directing it into the occupied lands
(Cooley, 1984).
Acknowledging the finite water resources in the ME re-
gion, countries should focus towards new water allocat io n
approaches and strategies in order to meet the growing
water demand in a sustainable way, which leads to Inte-
grated Water Resources Management (IWRM). IWRM
ensures that social, economic, environmental, and tech-
nical dimensions are taken into account in the manage-
K. A. Moura d ET AL.
2 Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
ment and development of water resources. IWRM is
based on bridging the gap between agreed policies and
implementation (Rahaman & Varis, 2005). Gaps between
the participatory principle and its implementation in prac-
tice were exemplified by Petit and Baron (2009) for Bur-
kina Faso. They found that social environments are cha-
racterized by strong hierarchic relationships that may
hinder a rational IWRM approach. In studying the Mhla-
tuze catchment in Sou th Africa, Funke et al. (2007) found
that due to insufficient alignment and cooperation be-
tween the policies of different government departments
and t he practices of different water use s ectors th at impact
on water, man y institutional challenges persist. Therefore,
it is vital to integrate water sub-sectors such as hydro-
power, water supply and sanitation, agriculture, and en-
vironment with the social dimension in the management
process. Water policy, for example, plays a vital role in
IWRM. It controls the water use in each country through
a set of laws, policies, and legislations. Many countries
face a multitude of problems in implementing their water
policies and laws because they did not implement the par-
ticipatory approach while setting their projects. For
Lake Tiberias and the northern Jordan River, any IWRM
policy that aims at resolving the present hydrological,
ecological and political problems should take water qual-
ity and water quantity into consideration (Berman, 1998).
This should be enhanced by public awareness and organ-
ization development in the region due to the importance
of local part icipation in all water pro jects. Riparian coun-
tries, water user groups and individuals should realize that
they all depend on each other now and in the future. This
should lead to the building of institutional linkages that
reciprocate and mirror the water flows in the up-
streamdownstream context, which is the base of any
IWRM approach (Savenije & Van der Zaag, 2008).
In view of the above; the objectives of this study were to
analyze the 4th June 1967 line issue in the ME and to sug-
gest an IWRM approach that can be a starting point for
sustainable peace in the ME. An IWRM approach would
ensure the integration of all sectors and stakeholders at re-
gional and international levels to realize justice and com-
prehen sive peace an d to achieve stabil ity and secu rit y to the
region. This is a formidable task that cannot be resolved in a
single paper. However, we suggest a solution to the issue of
the Lake Tiberias b y a simple approach. This together with
a comprehensive environmental protection plan of the Lake
with surroundings and water saving demonstration project
involving several villages in an international context could
be a starting point for further international collaboration.
Consequently, the paper starts off by giving a resume of
water agreements and the peace process in the ME. After
this, we outline important asp ects o f the IWRM for th e area.
Finally, we suggest an approach based on IWRM and a
starting point by settling the Lake Tiberias issue.
2 Water Conflicts in the ME
The most important water conflicts in the ME are con-
centrated in the shared water basins between Syria, Leba-
non, Jordan, and Palestine on one hand and IS on the other
hand. This conflict axis is considered the most dangerous
in the world because of its political conditions. "When it
comes to the common water resources shared with Pales-
tinians and other Arabs, Israel ... acts like a great sponge"
(Elmusa 1993). Jordan River has three watercourses: Has-
bani in Lebanon, Banias in Syria, and Dan in IS (Zeitoun et
2009; Fig. 1). They join together and flow into the Tibe-
rias Lake. The Yarmou k R iver, with a total length about 360
km, starts in Syria then joins Jordan River, and discharges
in to the Dead Sea (Dao udy, 2008). After the 1967 war IS
prohibited Arabs on the West Bank from drilling new wells
without its permission, which was almost impossible. In a
report to the Center for Strategic and International Studies
in Washington D.C., Starr & Stoll (1987) noted that water
resources are exploited up to 4.5 and 95.5% in the West
Bank and IS, respectively. IS also began to use between
5075% of the Jordan River flow. On the other hand, the
Tiberias Lake (Sea o f Galilee) is consider ed the most sensi-
tive lake in the region. Consequently, it appears clear that
occupying the Syrian Golan Heights by IS was not for secu-
rity reasons. Instead it had a water resources dimension. IS
could, by occupying Golan Heights, control all water re-
sources that supply Jordan River and Lake Tiberias, in addi-
tion to its control of some parts of Yarmouk River.
Figure 1.
W ater resources supplying Lake T iberias (after Zeitoun et al.,
3 Bilateral Wat e r Agreem en ts
3.1 Syria an d J ordan
On the third of September 1987 Syria and Jordan signed
the Yarmouk river agreement that said; the two countries
have right to water and electricity from the river by building
the Unity Dam and to use its lake. Jordan will construct the
100 m high Unity Dam and Syria has the right to use all
springs that originate from its land in Yarmouk basin except
those upstream the dam with water level less than 250 m,
and Jordan has the right of using water that flows from the
dam and from the producing electricity center (MOI-SY,
2008). Later o n and after extended negotiations, on the 24th
of November 1998, Syria and Jordan signed the Yarmouk
river water agreement with full focus on constructing the
Unity Dam. The Syrian-Jordanian committee discussed the
K. A. Moura d ET AL.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 3
cost of the Unity Dam project in light of a new study pre-
sented by the Jordanian side.
3.2 Jord an and IS
In 1994 IS signed a peace agreement with Jordan. Water
was a major issue in this agreement. Both countries agreed
upon that IS will take 25 MCM/year (12 MCM in summer
and 13 MCM in winter) from Yarmouk River. IS, moreover,
will transfer 20 MCM/year from Jordan River in the sum-
mer period. Jordan, on the other hand, can take an annual
quantity of 10 MCM of desalinated water from about 20
MCM of saline springs that are diverted to the Jordan River,
while operation and maintenance costs are financed by IS.
The two countries agreed on establishing a Joint Water
Committee of three members from each country that may
have a number of specialized sub-committees for solving
techn ical tasks and water management (Jägerskog, 2003).
3.3 Pales tinian Authority and IS
In article 40 of the Oslo II Interim Agreement in Sep-
tember 1995, IS acknowledged, for the first time, the Pales-
tinian water rights. The agreement formed a Joint Water
Committee to discuss water shares and needs. The article
also acknowledged the Palestinian future water needs on the
West Bank to be between 70-80 MCM/year (Jägerskog,
4 Negotiations in the ME Peace Process
4.1 General about the peace process
The Middle East peace process was launched at the Ma-
drid conference October 31, 1991. Within this process five
multilateral working groups were set up to complement the
bilat eral n egotiat ions coveri ng water reso u rces, envir onment,
arms control and regional security, refugees, and regional
economic development (Haddadin, 2002). Due to the fact
that about 55% of Israel's total water supply comes from
non-Israeli sources, 280 MCM from Golan Heights, 415
MCM from the West Bank, and 215 MCM from Lebanon,
Syria, and Jordan (Zarour, 1992), Isr ael had from the begin-
ning of the Middle East talks insisted on a full cooperation
on water projects in a regional framework. The complexity
of the water issue in the Middle East creates conflicts that
require experts and mediators to be involved in the negotia-
tion approach. Conflicts are resolved by negotiation. In
general, negotiations can be right-based, power-based, or
interest-based. The right-based approach has not worked for
more than sixty years and it will not be, by itself, the way to
resolve the conflicts in the Middle East, because Israel re-
fused to admit or to apply the United Nation resolutions
(242 and 338). The power-based approach, on the other
hand, means resolving the conflicts for the powerful side
interests, which is not the way to resolve conflicts in the
Middle East where Arabs and Israel have had many wars
since 1948 (i.e., 1967, 1973, 1979, and 1982). Moreover,
the last two wars against Lebanon in 2006 and Palestine in
2008 have shown that power will not bring a sustainable
peace, it has brought destruction and hate to human beings
inside and outside the region. Power also allows the con-
flicts to recur. There fore, interest-b ased negotiations, which
look for equal needs and concerns of the parties (depending
on why and not only what) is the best approach to solve
water conflicts in the Middle East. In this mixed approach,
problems will be solved at a regional level and many op-
tions can be develop ed to reach the best agreement.
4.2 Tiberias Lake (Sea of Galilee)
Tiberias Lake is located between Syria and Palestine at
Long. 35°35' East and Lat. 32°50' with a total surface area
of about 170 km2 It is about 22 km long, 14 km wide, and
an average depth of about 24m (Berman, 1998; ME-WDBP,
1998; Fig.2). Historically, the management of the lake has
been changed from one convention to another. In the
Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916, which was between the
governments of Britain and F rance, Syria had the full con-
trol over the lake. However, under the Convention of Obadr
Clemenso, 1919, the lake was in Palestinian hands. While in
the Treaty of San Remo in 1920 Syria had part of the lake
and this part was redefined in the Paris treaty, 1920, to be
one third of the lake. Yet, the 1923 treaty gave the whole
lake to P alesti ne (Stas, 2008). The 1923 treaty had two con-
tradictory articles; the first located the international border
between Syria and Palestine 10 m east of the lakeshore.
However, the second one gave Syria the right of using Tibe-
rias Lake for navigation and fishing (Stas, 2008).
Figure 2 .
Tiberias L ake (after ME-WDBP,
Due to the truce treaty (20 September, 1949) between Sy-
ria and Israel after the 1948 war, the international border
was the shore of the lake. Syria had enjoyed using the east-
ern coast of the lake until the 1967 war, which is called the
4th June 1967 line. Syria now wants to return to this border
again. However, Israel has not agreed on this because if
Israel withdraws to the 4th June 1967 line it will grant 40
MCM/year to Syria (Schiff, 1993). The Clinton summit in
Geneva on March 26, 2000, did not achieve any progress. It
showed that the main obstacles were on access to the Tibe-
rias Lake, the security arrangements, and the earl y-warning
station (Migdalovitz, 2005). Yet, Israel cannot return the
Golan Heights in order not to lose its control of springs,
rivers, an d Tib eri as La ke (Humphries, 2006). Tib erias Lake,
by the National Water Carrier System, provides about
K. A. Moura d ET AL.
4 Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
one-third of the Israeli freshwater needs (Tal, 2006). The
lake receives 70 % of its surface water from the northern
Jordan River (Borisover, et al., 2009). There are t hree main
rivers that contribute to 80 % of the annual lake recharge
through the Jordan River: Dan river 250 MCM; Banias river,
which is located in the Syrian occupied land, supplies about
130 MCM about; and Hasbani river, which is located in
Lebanese land, supplies about 130 MCM per year (Ber-
man, 1998). According to Courcier et al. (2005), before
1950s Tiberias Lake together with Yarmouk River contri-
buted to the Jordan River flow by 605 and 465 MCM per
year, respectively. However, in 1970s, after the Israeli oc-
cupation of Palestinian land and the Golan heights and after
constructing of the NWC, the picture changed completely
(Table 1) . Table 1 shows how the chan ge affected the water
sustainability of Tiberias Lake as well as the Jordan River
flow and the Dead Sea, which at present only receives rec-
laimed water.
Table 1.
Water balance in Lake Tiberias
Year 1950s 1970s 2000s
Upper Jordan
Yar mo uk River
North Irrigation
Jordan River
Into the Dead Sea 1285 505 0
5 Results and Discussion from IWRM Perspective
Recogni zi ng IWRM principles, while resolving water
conflicts, mean integrating all sectors in the negotiation
process. This integration may balance interests between all
parties and ensure stakeholder participation and the use of
conflict management tools in the management process.
Stakeholder participation should be at all levels that may
affect water management decisions. Participation means
being part of the process and accepting the need for change
to ensure water sustai nability, peace, and o ther water users’
rights. Managing water by an integrated approach will solve
water shortage by studying the situation taking into consid-
eration water supp ly, water de mand, water all ocation , water
socioeconomics, and water policy. In such an integrated
climate n ew strate gies can be bu ilt and new hori zons can b e
opened. Below follows some specific aspects of IWRM that
we believe would be especially important to consider for a
successful application in the studied area. IWRM has four
dimensions: water resources, water users, spatial scale, and
temporal scales & patterns (Savenije & Van der Zaag,
2008). The discussion below follows these four dimensions.
5.1 Water resources
The first challenge that IWRM faces is qu antifying the
available water resources. According to FAO the annual re-
newable water availability per capita in the Middle East is
decreasing due to population and development growth, the
figures in 2025 will be about 60% of those in 1970 (FAO,
2010). In addition to surface and groundwater, water
resources include non conventional resources such as
reclaimed, desalinated, and harvested waters. Treated
wastewater is used all over the region for irrigation. Jordan
plans to use reclaimed water discharged from about 36
wastewater treatment plants by 2013, 19 of them are
currently working that produce about 72 MCM per year
(Ammary, 2007). Syria has four plants and is planning to
construct more than twenty new wastewater treatment plants.
Extending the irrigation with treated wastewater could lead
to significant water savings. Israel, on the other hand,
produces an annual amount of about 500 MCM of wastewater,
85% of which were treated in 2008 (IWA, 2010). Greywater,
which is water from showers, kitchen, and la undry, can be
safely reu sed in agriculture. Jamrah et al. (2008) found that
reusing greywater in Oman can save between 12 and 65%
of the total fresh water use. Greywater can also be used for
toilet flushing and save between 29 to 35% of potable water
(Ghisi & Ferreira, 2007). In a study made in Sweida City,
Syria, Mourad et al. (2011) found that the city can save about
35% of its drinking water if treated greywater is used for
toilet flushing. Collecting and storing rainwater is generally
named water harvesting. Water harvesting is a t raditio nal me-
thod used throughout the Middle East to manage finite water
supply. Indications of early water harvesting facilities con-
structed over 9000 years ago have been found in the Edom
Mountains in southern Jordan (Nasr, 1999). Wa te r fro m roo fs
can be s tored a nd us e d in i rr igat ion or for other us e s. I n Jorda n,
e.g., a maximum of 15.5 MCM/year of rainwater can be col-
lected from roofs of residential buildings considering that all
rain falling on the surfaces is collected (Abdulla & Al-Shareef,
2009), which represents about 7% (231 MCM/year) of the
total groundwater shortage in Jordan (MWI-JO, 2009). Syria
can also save more than 35 million m3 of water by roof rain-
water harvesting in rural areas (Mourad & Bernedtsson, 2011)
Water harvesting can also be done by collecting flood and
stream water within a water basin in surface dams. These dams
will enhance groundwater recharge and the harvested water
can be used for irrigation or drinking water. Many areas in the
rural Syria and Jordan already depend on these small dams for
local water needs.
5.2 Water users
Water uses include: domestic, industry, agriculture, fishe-
ries, ecosystems, hydropower, navigation, recreation, etc.
For the domestic sector, the WHO minimum standard per
capita water consumption is 100 Lpcd (liter per capita per
day). The per capita of water consumption in the Middle
East differs from country to country; it is 120 Lpcd for Syria,
according to the Ministry of Housing and construction in
Syri a, 55 Lpcd for the Palestinian population (Abu Zahra,
2001), 190 Lpcd for Lebanon (El-Fadel, Zeinati, & Jamali,
2000), and 225 Lpcd in IS (Portnov and Meir, 2008).
Therefore, full consideration should be taken regarding
water consumption for all riparian people to sustain their
vital needs and to find new instruments for water demand
management and water saving in order to reduce water
losses within the water system and for domestic uses.
Moreover, a field survey is very necessary to reflect the
actual water consumption in these countries, which may
lead to a vital n eed for a p ubli c awareness an d/o r rehab ilita-
tion of water systems. In this regard, countri es can decrease
domestic water consumption by introducing new water sav-
ing practices and techniques. Some water saving devices,
which can be installed in water taps, can save more than
K. A. Moura d ET AL.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 5
20% of the consumed water for washing and showers. Fur-
thermore, the average toilet tank in the region is 9 LPF (liter
per flush). A daily average per person of five times of using
means daily consumed water in toilet flushing equal to 45
liter per person. However, installing a dual flush toilet, e.g.,
will reduce the flushed water to 21 liters, which means
about 50% of the toilet water can be saved (VCI, 2002). The
agricultural sector is the largest consumer of water in the
Middle East (Table 2). Therefore great care shoul d be taken
towards increasing irrigation efficiency and selecting crops
with small consumptive use.
Table 2.
Water use in some countries in the Mi ddle East
Syri a
1 (Ammary, 2007),2 (El-Fadel et al. 2000), 3 (Dreizin et al.
In this regard, acknowledging virtual water concept,
which is th e water embedded in produ cing a ny kind o f good,
can help countries in saving water. Banana production in
Israel, e.g., consumes 1.4 kg of water per kg of banana
(Pohoryles, 2000). Hence, taking into consideration that
banana is not a vital crop for countries, it would be better for
Israel to import banana instead of fighting its neighbors for
water. Thus, countries in the region should use water to
produce benefits that cannot be imported (Heinzen, 2001)
and set their crop pattern according to gross profit per water
use ratio. For example Jordan can save about 47 MCM/year
if farmers in the J ordan Valley change fruit trees to
vegetables (Mourad, Gaese, & Jabarin. 2010). Thus, new
agricultural strategies may be reco mmended, within a
regional co operation, in ord er to reach higher water
productivity and to suggest new allocation plans.
Furthermore, the invisibility of the virtual water trade makes
it extremely successful because it can be applied without
political conflicts (Mourad, Gaese, and Jabarin. 2010).
5.3 Spatial scale
Although IWRM can be applied at local and national le-
vels, it can also be applied at regional and international levels.
On the other hand, the operational management inside the
institutions should have interactions between all levels,
which mean that the lower level interests should be taken into
consideration at higher levels (Savenije & Van der Zaag,
2008). Spatial scale includes allocation of water rights as
well. (Zarour & Isaac, 1992) propos e d t he f ol lowing form ul a
for the allocation of water rights in Tiberias Lake:
where S(i) is the size of the right/obligation of state i
(percent); B(i) is the area of the basin/storage volume within
or under the territory of state i; B(T) is the total area/storage
volume of the basin; I(i) is the natural input to the basin ori-
ginating within the territories of state i; I(T) is the t otal input
to basin T; L(i) is the natural loss from the basin’s water
occurring within the territories of state i; and L(T) is the total
natu r al loss of water occurring throughout the ba s i n.
The application of Eq. (1) needs data and cooperation
between all parties to estimate correct parameter values,
oth erwise this may create n ew dispu tes between the cou nte-
racting parties. B(i) is the most important variable that
should be agreed on. Israel wanted to retain a 400 m strip on
the northern shore of the lake that means Israel will keep
using the lake alone. Syria, on the other hand, wants to have
access to the lake. A recent suggestion is that the northeas-
tern shoreline could be a joint tourist area for Syrians, Israe-
lis, and other international, under UN security supervision
(Ma’oz, 2005).
5.4 Temporal scales and patterns
Acknowledging the temporal patterns of the water re-
sources and the users means acknowle dging floods, dr oug ht s,
base flow, peak demands and other vital demands. This
should constitute a basis for water demand management
aiming at a better allocation of water resources. Moreover,
water models should be used to predict best and worst water
scenarios in order to set new strategies and plans that face
future water scarcity problems, which will be a base for a
better management of water balance between different hy-
drolo gi cal years and different water basins.
5. 5 Application to Tiberi as Lake
The IWRM approach should be based on the previous
dimensions. According to the international water law, ripa-
rian countries of a watercourse should include sustainability,
optimal use, protection, and control of the water resources
in their joint management plan (Elmusa, 1996). However,
reviewing Eq. (1) shows an absence of the water sustaina-
bility term in the lake. In 2000, due to the Isr aeli water use,
Tiberias Lake water level experienced an all-time low ex-
ceeding the red danger line. Besides the lake water level
(Zaslavsky, 2000) indicated that the Israeli water use in the
region was non-sustainable. Therefore, any suggested ap-
proach should take sustainability into consideration by tak-
ing the length of the water shores, the renewable amount of
water that can be used, and the catchment areas and water
amounts, in each country that contribute in feeding the lake
into account.
Therefore, the IWRM approach will include many tasks;
starting from the implementation of the United Nations
resolutions, saving water to ensure its sustainability, con-
centrating on water productivity to get the optimal use re-
gimes, and protecting water resources from environmental
impact. The application of such approach needs full cooper-
ation instead of confrontation between riparian countries at
scientific and political levels. In such cooperative plan,
basis for sustainable peace will be built. The following
points can be a basis for an IWRM approach:
1- Implementation of the United Nations resolutions: As
illustrated before Syria had the right to reach Tiberias Lake
shore by the implementation of the Resolution 242 and 338,
which is the first step towards any peace agreement.
2- Allocation of the Tiberias Lake water: Knowing that
the total surface area of the lake is about A = 167 km2 and
K. A. Moura d ET AL.
6 Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
the total circumference of the lake is about C = 53 km, the
surface area of the lake that can be used by Syria AS an d
Israel AI, for fishing and swimming, depending on the re-
gional circumference of the lake CS and CI , can be com-
puted by:
AS,I = A × (Cs,i/C)
For the discharged water, the Syrian and the Israeli share
depends on the total catchment area, which is about 2730 km2
(ME-WDBP, 1998), and the feeding water amounts in each
country, which means the higher the feeding amounts the
higher the discharge rate, taking water sustainability into
account. The average lake level is 210.4 m below sea level
with an average range of about 1.3 m (ME-WDBP, 1998).
Therefore, for the lake sustainability, it is advised to maintain
this range. From (Berman, 1998) we can roughly estimate the
Syrian share to be at least 20% of the total water discharge
from the l ake. The location of the intake and t he exact amount
need more studies and can be agreed on within a positive
3- Joint management plan: Creation of a joint manage-
ment plan based on the participation of all sectors that deal
with water at all levels. The negotiation within the plan
should be interest-based and the main target of the plan
could be water for peace. The following constitute a sug-
gested li ne of action:
a. P rotecting Tiberi as Lake from negative enviro nmental
impact by formulating a joint environmental protection plan
in order to suggest parameters for determination of water
quality in the lake and to set water quality monitoring sys-
tems at the main inflow points. A regional water policy for
Tiberias Lake catch ment can help in prot ecting water quan-
tity and quality in the lake for a better water management
that can be enhanced by all stakeholders from Syria, Leba-
non, Jordan, and Israel.
b. Proposin g a greywater, water harvesting, and/or water
saving devices project for four villages from Syria, Jordan,
Lebanon, and Israel. The main objectives of the project
would be to save domestic water by reusing greywater and
harvested water in toilet flushing and in garden irrigation;
and to estimate the potential saving from the implementa-
tion of water saving devices. Such projects could be funded
by international organizations as it focuses on water for
c. Analyzing the agricultural status in both countries
trying to isolate wasteful crops by introducing the virtual
water and water productivity concepts in the future agricul-
tural plans without ignoring food security issues.
d. Merging wat er, energy, and economic issues. A feasi-
bility study is needed to compare pumping water from Lake
Tiberias, taking the distance and the elevation 210 m below
sea level into account; with Construction of seawater desa-
lination plant.
e. Taking local needs, priorities, and sustainability issues
into account while planning any policy or project by en-
hancing the participatory approach.
4- Regional environmental plan that contains all stake-
holders in the region aiming at maintaining Jordan River,
which flow at present, is almost non-existent.
With such an approach Middle East countries will have
new target to focus on instead of gunfire. New projects can
be implemented and new targets can be achieved, which can
create new future to the region at national, regional, and
internat ional hor izons .
6. Conclusions
Based on the foregoing, gunfire cannot provide drinking
water to thirsty people, nor can it solve the p r esent water
crisis in the Middle East. Money that is used for arming the
region can be used for improving the regional situation.
Therefore, policy makers may think in reforming their poli-
cies depending on the real situation. What is needed is a
new emphasis on cooperation for the establishment of a
regional water policy, to advocate cooperation instead of
confrontation and integration instead of fragmentation,
which cannot be achieved before reaching a complete and
comprehensive peace based on the United Nations resolu-
The historical records about the international borders
between S yria and Isr ael show that Syria has the right to use
Tiberias Lake. However, the size of this right and the pur-
poses should be agreed on within a framework under the
United Nations supervision and a positive negotiation at-
mosphere. Construction of a sew water desalination plant
may decrease the area´s water stress and may also improve
the environmental characteristics of the Jordan basin. A
fruitful interest-based negotiation process aiming at solving
the actual water problems in the region can be the base for
water sust ai nability and peace in the region.
Integrat ed water resou rces manage ment is an app roach to
solve the water shortage in the Middle East by acknowl-
edging the participatory approach, the environmental cha-
racteristics of the region, and recognizing water best prac-
tices in irrigation and in potable water saving. The integra-
tion of sectors and stakeholders at a regional level sh o uld be
based on cooperation and transparency. The cooperation
should be built on scientific basis in order to save water by
carrying out water and agricultural research that focus on
virtual water, re claimed water, wat er saving te chn iques, an d
new water allocation strategies aiming at saving water re-
sour ces at th e regio n al level to put a j oi nt managemen t p lan .
In such cooperative plan, withdrawing to the 4th June 1967
borderline will create new future to the region. It will direct
all efforts towards a sustainable peace.
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