Home » Environmental Law Review Syndicate » 2018 » Conduit For Peace in the Middle East: An Analysis of the Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance Project

 
 

Conduit For Peace in the Middle East: An Analysis of the Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance Project

 

I. Introduction

The mythic Dead Sea—the highly salinated, low altitude lake of international interest and importance—is drying up.[1] Although the Jordan Rift Valley, where the Dead Sea is located, is known for frequent droughts, the decline of the Dead Sea is primarily due to human intervention—namely, the diversion of the Jordan River, the main lake source which feeds the Dead Sea,[2] to provide potable water to increasing populations.[3] A water level drop of one meter per year has led the surface area to decrease from 960 km2 to 620 km2 in the last fifty years.[4] Today, the rate of decline is only increasing, giving rise to “extensive environmental degradation and damage to industry and infrastructure and . . . substantial intangible impacts and costs,” with an estimated direct cost to government and industry to be “some $2.9 billion over the next 60 years.”[5]

Despite the lack of stability between the Dead Sea’s three bordering entities—the State of Israel, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority—a series of agreements between the groups have sought to address the problem of the disappearing Dead Sea alongside the problem of access to potable water.[6] Facilitated by the World Bank Group, the Red Sea­–Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study investigated the feasibility of reversing the environmental degradation of the Dead Sea by transferring seawater from the Red Sea. By introducing desalination into the transfer process, the hope of the three parties is that the Red Sea­–Dead Sea Water Conveyance will address the environmental degradation of the Dead Sea and the lack of affordable energy and drinking water in the Jordan Rift Valley, while increasing political goodwill and cooperation between the parties.[7]

II. Issues Sought to Be Addressed

The Dead Sea—neither dead, nor a sea—supports a wide variety of microfauna and macrofauna at the lowest point on the Earth’s surface.[8] As the lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea acts as “the water seismograph of the region . . . express[ing] the nonsustainable use of fresh water.”[9] Since the 1960s, the surface area of the Dead Sea has declined by one-third,[10] resulting in increased incidence of dust storms, “losses of freshwater springs, river bed erosion, and occurrence of over one thousand sinkholes.”[11] The sinkholes occur because:

The retreat of the water (which is almost 10 times saltier than the ocean’s) has allowed fresh groundwater to well up and dissolve the layer of salt within the land’s subsurface. Underground cavities form and eventually trigger collapses. . . . The deepest pit could fit an eight-story building. . . . Today’s sinkholes, located almost exclusively on the sea’s Israeli side, first appeared in the early 1980s. . . . According to Eli Raz, a geology consultant who has tracked the problem almost since it began, more than 4,000 sinkholes now pockmark the land.[12]

The decline of the Dead Sea water level also disrupted the water tables; the low level of groundwater has “allow[ed] seawater intrusion,”[13] contaminating an aquifer in the Gaza Strip.[14]

There are multiple causes of the Dead Sea water level decline. The Jordan River flow into the Dead Sea has been most significantly impacted by diversion to satisfy increasing water consumption in Israel, Jordan, and Syria driven by rapidly growing populations.[15] In addition, the large evaporation based chemical industries in Israel and Jordan consume a significant amount of raw Dead Sea water, further contributing to the water level decline.[16] Further, as this is all occurring in desert nations, the problems of water scarcity will be only “exacerbated by the anticipated negative climate change scenarios” over time.[17]

A. Water Resources by Region

1. Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, once a relatively water-rich nation, is now “the third most water insecure country in the world.”[18] Jordan, which has rationed water since the 1980s, found itself in 2013 in a full-blown water crisis—having integrated into their population nearly 1.4 million people seeking refuge from the Syrian Civil War.[19]

In 2008, Jordan implemented a water strategy expected to protect its water needs until at least 2022.[20] This strategy centered on the building of the Disi aquifer, which pumps 100 million cubic meters of water per year and opened in 2013.[21] However, this strategy also relied upon pre-Syrian crisis population assessments. In a 2014 study, Jordan determined that the new $1.1 billion aquifer could only support the population through 2016.[22] According to Jordan’s Ministry of Water and Irrigation, water needs will exceed resources by more than 26% by 2025.[23]

To address its  water crisis, in 2014 Jordan enacted “Water Wise Women” with funding from Germany’s Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), a program which trains women to be plumbers and community outreach representatives:

Each group of “Water Wise Women” goes through eight different levels of training run by a German expert from GIZ and supervised by program alumni. The levels include: eradicating water leakage, harnessing technology, reducing water usage in the household, and improving hygiene. Each trained woman is expected to disseminate the technology and information within their community, and to reach out to at least 20–25 other women. They are given funding for travel for this outreach, and at the end of the course, each participant receives a box of tools. [24]

The program has trained more than 300 women plumbers in 15 locations across the Kingdom.[25] In those areas, Jordan’s Ministry for Water and Irrigation found “there has been a 30–40% reduction in household water consumption.”[26]

In March of 2017 the Kingdom’s first desalination plant opened in Aqaba.[27] This plant doubled Jordan’s potable water supply, providing five million cubic meters of potable water per year. In spite of these efforts, in December of 2017 the Economist reported that Jordan can provide less than 15% of amount the World Bank has defined as “water scarcity.”[28]

In early 2018, the Jordanian government partnered with another community group to promote conservation: college students. In a partnership with students at Princess Sumaya University for Technology, Jordan’s Ministry of Water and Irrigation launched a game app in February of 2018 to raise water conservation awareness among the general public.[29] In the style of Chutes and Ladders, the game entertains players while educating them about water rationing and water waste.[30]

2. State of Israel

In 2008, after a decade-long drought, “its worst in at least 900 years,” Israel was running out of water.[31] But a few years of rain, combined with new, highly efficient preservation and desalination technology, put Israel in a vastly different position: by 2014, rather than experiencing water scarcity, it suddenly had a surplus.[32] Today, Israel leads the world in water reclamation: “87% of its wastewater is purified and reused for agriculture. For reference, Singapore, second on the list, reclaims some 35% of its sewage water, and most countries . . . reclaim less than 10% of their water.” [33] In support of this innovative water treatment system is a wholistic approach of water conservation, using “low-flow toilets and showerheads . . . installed nationwide” and an agricultural system powered by drip irrigation.[34]

The most significant change has been Israel’s newest source of freshwater: desalinated seawater.[35] Even as the world’s leader in water conservation, “Israel still needed about 1.9 billion cubic meters . . . of freshwater per year and was getting just 1.4 billion cubic meters . . . from natural sources.”[36] Desalination, or desal, was once considered a method of “last resort” due to its expense and inefficiency.[37] But a breakthrough innovation by Israel’s Zuckerburg Institute for Water Research changed all that:

Desal works by pushing saltwater into membranes containing microscopic pores. The water gets through, while the larger salt molecules are left behind. Microorganisms in seawater quickly colonize the membranes and block the pores, and controlling them requires periodic costly and chemical-intensive cleaning. But [the Institute] developed a chemical-free system using porous lava stone to capture the microorganisms before they reach the membranes. . . . Israel now gets 55 percent of its domestic water from desalination.[38]

Israel’s Mediterranean coast is now home to five desalination plants, producing “roughly 550 million cubic meters per year” of potable water.[39] By 2025, “the Israel Water Authority plan[s] to establish another [plant] in Western Galilee and another four large facilities along the coast.”[40]

Today, as the nation again faces its fifth consecutive drought year, Israel is no longer in a state of water surplus, and has resumed water rationing.[41] This demonstrates the continued incentive Israel has for participating in the water conveyance project outside of concerns for the Dead Sea.

3. Palestinian Authority: West Bank & Gaza Strip

The 1995 Oslo II Accords, an interim resolution meant to be revised within five years, granted Palestinian Authority jurisdiction over 40% of the West Bank, with Israel retaining control over Area C.[42] To “deal with all water and sewage related issues in the West Bank,” Oslo II established a Joint Water Committee (JWC).[43]

Oslo II also established the amount of water Israel is required to “make available to the Palestinians during the interim period a total quantity of 28.6 mcm/year,” based on a joint estimate of the “future needs of the Palestinians in the West Bank [as] between 70–80 mcm/year.”[44] B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, reported in 2016 that with a “Palestinian population of the West Bank [which] has nearly doubled . . . the Palestinian Authority (PA) is forced to purchase from Mekorot [the Israeli the state-owned water distribution company] an amount two and [a] half times greater than [those] set out in the accords.”[45]

The World Health Organization recommends a minimum water consumption of 100 liters per capita per day.[46] In 2014, the Palestinian Water Authority reported an average Palestinian water consumption of 79 liters per capita per day.[47] B’Tselem reported that while this figure is reflective of Palestinians who are hooked up to the water grid, the figure for Palestinians who are not is much lower, an estimated 20–50 liters per capita per day.[48]

A significant component to the Palestinian Authority’s water scarcity is the extensive damage to the Gaza Strip’s water and wastewater infrastructure during the Second Intifada from 2000–2005.[49] In order to restore access to water and wastewater services to the area, the World Bank engaged in the Gaza Emergency Water Project, which closed in January 2012.[50] This project completed:

Drilling of more than 50 water production wells with small pumping capacity (new wells or replacement of existing polluted wells); Supply of chemicals and dosing pumps and chlorination of 99.7 percent of water supply; Replacement of more than 30,000 meters of old service connections and old asbestos main pipes, and installation of 15,000 domestic meters and 20 public meters; Monitoring program established for wastewater plants; [and] Emergency response plan established following the rupture of the temporary effluent basin at Beit Lahia wastewater treatment plant.[51]

Historically, the water source for the Gaza Strip has been an underlying coastal aquifer.[52] Complicating matters further, in 2012, the United Nations Country Team reported that due to declining groundwater levels and resultant seawater infiltrates, the aquifer could become unusable as early as 2016, with damage irreversible by 2020.[53]

Due to the Gaza Strip’s location on the Mediterranean coast, combined with the newly reduced cost of desalination, other sources of water have become possible. In January 2017, with contributions by UNICEF and the European Union, Gaza opened a significant seawater desalination plant in Deir al Balah.[54] This plant initially produced 6,000 cubic meters of desalinated water per day (or 2.19 million cubic meters per year), and has a projected target of approximately 20,000 cubic meters per day by 2020 (or 7.3 million cubic meters per year).[55]

The 1995 water allocation agreement in Oslo II was updated in July 2017 in the bilateral water agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.[56] This agreement increased the amount Israel agreement to allocate to the PA from 28.6 million cubic meters per year to 32 million cubic meters of water per year.[57]

B. Lateral Water Agreements

While the possibility of an inter-basin transfer from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea has been studied in many forms since the mid-1800s, the significant Dead Sea water level decline in the last fifty years and wide-spread potable water scarcity lead to an agreement in the 1994 Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty (joined by the Palestinian Authority) to consider a water conveyance to “save” the Dead Sea.[58] This treaty built on the water-sharing agreements in Oslo I Accord in 1993,[59] and was reinforced by Oslo II Accord.[60] In the 1994 treaty, the water conveyance was described as “The Two Seas Canal or the Peace Conduit.” [61] From the beginning, it was not only meant to provide 850 million cubic meters of potable water to Jordan, Israel, and Palestine,[62] but to be “a symbol of peace and cooperation in the Middle East.”[63]

In 2005, the Palestinian Authority, Israel, and Jordan (“the Beneficiary Parties”) signed a joint letter requesting that the World Bank “coordinate donor financing and manage the implementation of the Study Program.”[64] From the beginning, there was a “general consensus on the need to restore the Dead Sea, but opinions on how to achieve this objective var[ied].” The resultant “Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Program” was therefore multi-faceted, consisting of five main studies: a Feasibility Study, an Environmental and Social Assessment, a Study of Alternatives “examin[ing] other options available to the Beneficiary Parties to address the degradation of the Dead Sea and the production of additional potable water by means other than the identified water conveyance option,” a Red Sea Modelling Study, and a Dead Sea Modeling Study.[65]

As the various studies progressed, the Beneficiary Parties and the World Bank made a series of bilateral or trilateral agreements in negotiations to continue the project. First, in 2011, two Palestinian civil society organizations, Stop the Wall Campaign and the Palestinian Farmers Union, and the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, representing residents of the West Bank, filed a Request for Inspection of the Study Program.[66] This Request stated that West Bank residents “rely on ground water resources that are put at risk by the decline of the Dead Sea and which do not appear to be effectively addressed by the . . . Program,” and identified flaws in the Study Program Terms of Reference which “would result in inadequate and incomplete Environmental Social Assessments.”[67] Then, in 2013, all three Beneficiary Parties signed a “milestone regional cooperation agreement,” in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding, outlining “three major regional water sharing initiatives” to be pursued by the parties.[68] At this stage, the initiatives included:

[T]he development of a desalination plant in Aqaba at the head of the Red Sea, where the water produced will be shared between Israel and Jordan; increased releases of water by Israel from Lake Tiberias for use in Jordan; and the sale of about 20–30 million m3/year of desalinated water from Mekorot (the Israeli water utility) to the Palestinian Water Authority for use in the West Bank. In addition, a pipeline from the desalination plant at Aqaba would convey brine to the Dead Sea to study the effects of mixing the brine with Dead Sea water.[69]

In 2015, Israel and Jordan signed a bilateral water cooperation agreement to further the project. Pursuant to this agreement, the two parties agreed to “share the potable water produced by a future desalination plant in Aqaba, from which salty brines will be piped to the Dead Sea. In return for its portion . . . Israel will be doubling its sales of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) water to Jordan.”[70] As the proposed pipeline would “lie[] entirely in Jordanian territory,”[71] in 2016, Jordan and the World Bank entered into a “Country Partnership Framework” to fund the pipeline.[72]

In 2017, Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed a bilateral agreement allocating 32 million cubic meters of water to the Palestinian Authority to be split, 22 million cubic meters to the West Bank, and 10 million cubic meters to the Gaza Strip.[73] Recall that the 2013 trilateral Memorandum of Understanding included an agreement for Israel to sell “about 20–30 million m3/year of desalinated water . . . to the Palestinian Water Authority for use in the West Bank.”[74]

Today, the future of the water project is uncertain.[75] Just as the Dead Sea is “the water seismograph of the region,”[76] the water conveyance project is the region’s political seismograph.

III. The Water Conveyance

The proposed water conveyance seeks to address the environmental degradation of the Dead Sea and the lack of affordable energy and drinking water in the Jordan Rift Valley, while increasing political goodwill and cooperation between the parties. As a “three birds with one stone” approach, “[o]n paper, Red–Dead looks as elegant as it is ambitious—a simple solution for a huge environmental crisis that includes jobs, infrastructure, and profits.”[77] It is planned that with one conveyance, all three issues would be addressed:

A hydroelectric plant would be built, generating energy; desalination plants would pump out drinking water; and the reject brine, the by-product of the desalination process, would replenish the Dead Sea like a hose filling a swimming pool. The Israelis and Jordanians would share responsibility for building, maintaining, and operating the system. Thus, water, a historic cause of anxiety, contention, and even war in the region, becomes a conduit for economic and social cooperation.[78]

Taking into account the technological, political, and financial complexity of the water conveyance, the Study Program examined the numerous impacts and effectiveness of the proposal over many years.

The objective of the Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance Project Study Program was to “investigate the feasibility of the concept as a solution to the decline of the Dead Sea water level,” and was originally intended to be completed by 2010.[79] In order to get the full picture, the environmental impacts—both earthly and social—were studied.[80] A study of alternatives was also made, as informed by a chemical industry analysis study.[81] Once these were completed, the feasibility study was finalized and published.

The Feasibility Study, completed in 2014, evaluated “six potential project configurations . . . based on three alternative conveyance systems.”[82] It considered estimated capital costs, whole lifecycle net present costs, environmental impacts during construction and operation, and the effect on the microbiome of mixing Red Sea and Dead Sea waters.[83] Based on a “weighted multi-criteria assessment process,” the Feasibility Study concluded that a “pipeline conveyance combined with a high level desalination plant is the recommended optimum solution.”[84] In reaching this conclusion, the Study Program explored multiple limitations and potential adverse effects of the conveyance plan—and in so doing introduced a number of safeguards and mitigation factors to address the myriad needs of the three Beneficiary Parties.[85]

There is one factor not addressed in the 2014 Study Program findings: the impact of large-scale use of desalination plants—something only beginning to be studied in Israel, where desalinated water has recently become the majority source of potable water.  While the quality of the water produced in desalination is high, it is also “devoid of some key minerals found in normal water, like magnesium,” as the mineral is removed in the reverse-osmosis process alongside other salts.  Use of desalinated water in agriculture has therefore been shown to require an increased need for fertilizer. In addition, long-term consumption of desalinated water has also been linked to “an elevated mortality risk of myocardial infarction,” i.e. heart attacks.  It is theorized that this can be alleviated by the addition of magnesium to the treated water,  which must be considered when implementing wide-spread use.

IV. Conclusion

Having adequately addressed the multi-faceted concerns of all three Beneficiary Parties, by all accounts the Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance Project will break ground in the coming year.[86] In the two decades since the 1994 Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty and the 1993 and 1995 Oslo Accords, the political dynamics between the Dead Sea’s three bordering entities has remained complex, if not outright violent.[87] And yet, the inevitability of the Dead Sea’s decline, the inevitability of climate change, and the continued water scarcity in the entire Jordan River Basin has inexorably tied these Parties together just as strongly as any treaty.

If the water conveyance project can be the region’s political seismograph, perhaps peace in the Middle East is closer than we think.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Sarah L. Fine is a J.D. candidate at Lewis & Clark Law School and an Online Journal Editor of Environmental Law.

 

 

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. The surface area of the Dead Sea has shrunk by at least one-third since 1960; the water level falls at “an alarming pace of 0.8 to 1.2 meters per year.” Overview, World Bank Group, Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Program 1 (Jan. 2013) http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTREDSEADEADSEA/Resources/Overview_RDS_Jan_2013.pdf?resourceurlname=Overview_RDS_Jan_2013.pdf%26 [hereinafter Overview]. 
  2. Stephen C. McCaffrey, The Shrinking Dead Sea and the Red–Dead Canal: A Sisyphean Tale? 19 Pac. McGeorge Global Bus. & Dev. L.J. 259, 260 (2006) https://scholarlycommons.pacific.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1032&context=facultyarticles [hereinafter Shrinking Dead Sea]. 
  3. ERM, et al., Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Environmental and Social Assessment: Preliminary Scoping Report (2008) [hereinafter Preliminary Scoping Report]. 
  4. Coyne et Bellier, et al., Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Program Feasibility Study Final Feasibility Study Report Summary (2014) [hereinafter Feasibility Study]. 
  5. Id. 
  6. The Dead Sea is “roughly bisected from the north to the south by the border between Jordan on the eastern side, and Palestine (the West Bank) and Israel on the western side, placing it in the middle of some of the most hotly-contested land on earth.” Likely as a result, many of the document and agreements which comprise the Red Sea­–Dead Sea Water Conveyance are confidential. See Shrinking Dead Sea, supra note 2, at 259, 260 n.4. 
  7. See Overview, supra note 1, at 2. 
  8. Regarding microfauna: “In 2009, a marine biologist from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology discovered new species of green sulfur bacteria, cyanobacteria, and diatoms [in the Dead Sea]. Found within sediments nourished by underwater springs, these microorganisms have metabolisms allowing them to adapt to extreme changes in salinity.” Todd Pitock, Could Water from the Red Sea Help Revive the Dead Sea?, NRDC OnEarth (Jan. 23, 2017) https://www.nrdc.org/onearth/could-water-red-sea-help-revive-dead-sea (last visited Feb. 21, 2018) [hereinafter NRDC report]. Regarding macrofauna: “Located off the Dead Sea’s northwestern shore, the nature reserve is the world’s lowest in altitude, and its wetlands are the only place on the planet where rare blue and Dead Sea killifish coexist. The landscape’s altered hydrology is putting them at risk as well as causing the springs on the Dead Sea floor to migrate eastward.” Id. 
  9. Michael Beyth, Water Crisis in Israel, in Water, Histories, Cultures, Ecologies 171, 174 (Univ. of W. Austl. Press ed., 2006) [hereinafter Beyth]. 
  10. See Overview, supra note 1, at 1. 
  11. Background Note, World Bank Group, Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Program 1 (Oct. 2010) http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTREDSEADEADSEA/Resources/Background_Note_October_2010.pdf (emphasis added) [hereinafter Background Note]; see Preliminary Scoping Report, supra note 3, at 4. 
  12.  See NRDC report, supra note 8. 
  13. Natan Odenheimer, Israel A Regional Water Superpower, The Jerusalem Post (May 13, 2017) http://www.jpost.com/printarticle.aspx?id=484996 (last visited Feb. 21, 2018) [hereinafter Superpower]. 
  14. Stephen C. McCaffrey, Water Scarcity and Security Issues in the Middle East, in 108 Am. Soc’y Int’l L. Proc. 299 (Am. Soc’y Int’l L. eds., 2014). 
  15. World Bank Group, Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Program: Study of Alternatives Final Report 4 (2014). 
  16. Id. 
  17. Id. at 35. 
  18. MercyCorps, Tapped Out: Water Scarcity and the Refugee Pressures in Jordan 12 (2014). 
  19.  Id. at 4–5. 
  20. Id. at 14. 
  21. Id. at 14. 
  22. Id. 
  23. Jordan’s Water Wise Women, Al Jazeera (May 17, 2017) http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/earthrise/2017/05/jordan-water-wise-women-170516110004513.html (last visited Feb. 22, 2018). 
  24. Jordan Is Solving Its Water Crisis by Training Women as Plumbers, Apolitical Group LTD. (Nov. 3, 2017) https://apolitical.co/solution_article/jordan-solving-water-crisis-training-women-plumbers/ (last visited Fed. 22, 2018). 
  25. Id. 
  26. Id. 
  27.  Jordan’s First Water Desalination Plant Opens in Aqaba, Jordan Times (Mar. 18, 2017) http://www.jordantimes.com/news/local/jordan%E2%80%99s-first-water-desalination-plant-opens-aqaba (last visited Feb. 22, 2018). 
  28. Diplomatic Drought: Jordan’s Water Crisis is Made Worse by a Feud with Israel, The Economist (Dec. 2, 2017). 
  29.  Ministry Launches Water Conservation Awareness Game, The Jordan Times (Feb. 19, 2018) http://www.jordantimes.com/news/local/ministry-launches-water-conservation-awareness-game (last visited Feb. 22, 2018). 
  30. Id. 
  31. “Israel’s largest source of freshwater, the Sea of Galilee, had dropped to within inches of the ‘black line’ at which irreversible salt infiltration would flood the lake and ruin it forever.” Rowan Jacobsen, How a New Source of Water is Helping Reduce Conflict in the Middle East, Ensia (Jul. 19, 2016) https://ensia.com/features/water-desalination-middle-east/ (last visited Feb. 21, 2018) [hereinafter New Source]. 
  32. Id.; Julia Pyper, Israel is Creating a Water Surplus Using Desalination, E&E News (Feb. 7, 2014) https://www.eenews.net/stories/1059994202 (last visited Feb. 22, 2018). 
  33. See Superpower, supra note 13. 
  34. See New Source, supra note 31. 
  35. Id. 
  36.  Id. 
  37. Id. 
  38. Id. 
  39. Brett Walton, Israel’s Mediterranean Desalination Plants Shift Regional Water Balance, Circle of Blue (Jul. 25, 2016) http://www.circleofblue.org/2016/middle-east/israels-mediterranean-desalination-plants-shift-regional-water-balance/ (last visited Feb. 22, 2018). 
  40. Zafrir Rinat, Desalination Problems Begin to Rise to the Surface in Israel, Haaretz (Feb. 6, 2017) https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-desalination-problems-begin-to-rise-to-the-surface-in-israel-1.5494726 (last visited Feb. 22, 2018) [hereinafter Desalination Problems]. 
  41. Hagai Amit, Dry, Dry Again: After Several Wet Years, the Big Drought Is Back Again in Israel, Haaretz (Jan. 19, 2018) https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-after-several-wet-years-the-big-drought-is-back-in-israel-1.5746445 (last visited Feb. 21, 2018). 
  42. The World Bank, West Bank and Gaza: Assessment of Restrictions on Palestinian Water Sector Development 5 ¶ 23–6 ¶ 24 (2009). 
  43. Id. at 5 ¶ 25. In their 2009 report, the World Bank criticized the JWC as an “[in]effective mechanism for facilitating sector investment.” Id. at 47, 47 n.77. 
  44. Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Isr.-Palestine, Annex III art. 40, ¶¶ 6–7, Protocol Concerning Civil Affairs: Water and Sewage, Sept. 28, 1995, U.N. Doc. A/51/889 [hereinafter Oslo II]. 
  45. Summer 2016 Israel Cut Back on the Already Inadequate Water Supply to Palestinians, B’Tselem (Sep. 27, 2016) https://www.btselem.org/video/201609_water_salem#full (last visited Feb. 22, 218). 
  46. Id. 
  47. Id. 
  48. Id. 
  49.  Gaza Emergency Water Project, The World Bank (Apr. 29, 2013) http://www.worldbank.org/en/results/2013/04/29/gaza-emergency-water-project (last visited Mar. 7, 2018). 
  50. Id. 
  51. Id. 
  52. United Nations Country Team, Gaza in 2020: A Liveable Place? 11 (2012). 
  53. Id. 
  54. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Largest Seawater Desalination Plant Opened in Gaza, The Monthly Humanitarian Bulletin (Mar. 11, 2017) https://www.ochaopt.org/content/largest-seawater-desalination-plant-opened-gaza (last visited Mar. 7, 2018). 
  55. Id. 
  56. Press Release, The White House, Donald J. Trump Administration Welcomes Israeli-Palestinian Deal to Implement the Red–Dead Water Agreement (Jul. 1, 2017) https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/donald-j-trump-administration-welcomes-israeli-palestinian-deal-implement-red-dead-water-agreement/ [hereinafter White House Release]. 
  57. Id.; Oslo II, supra note 44. 
  58. See Background Note, supra note 11, at 1–2. 
  59. Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, Isr.-Palestine, Annex III, Protocol on Israeli-Palestinian Cooperation in Economic and Development Programmes, ¶ 1, Sept. 13, 1993, U.N. Doc. A/48/486. 
  60. See Oslo II, supra note 44, at Annex III art. 40. 
  61. Saad Merayyan & Salwa Mrayyan, Jordan’s Water Resources: Increased Demand with Unreliable Supply, 3 Computational Water, Energy, and Environmental Engineering 48, 49 (2014) http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=45117&#abstract
  62. Id. 
  63. Information Note, World Bank Group, Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance Concept Feasibility Study and Environmental and Social Assessment 3 (July 2007) http://siteresources.worldbank.org/MENAEXT/Resources/RDS_Background_Note_V050707.pdf?resourceurlname=RDS_Background_Note_V050707.pdf [hereinafter Information Note]. 
  64. Id. at 5. 
  65. Question and Answer Sheet, World Bank Group, Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Program 1 (Dec. 13, 2011) http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTREDSEADEADSEA/Resources/RDSQ&A13Dec2011_final.pdf
  66. Notice of Registration, World Bank Group Inspection Panel, Request for Inspection Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Program 1 (Oct. 20, 2011) http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/510341468184139751/pdf/651110IPNR0Box000INSP0SECM201100008.pdf
  67. Id. 
  68. Press Release, The World Bank, Senior Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian Representatives Sign Milestone Water Sharing Agreement (Dec. 9, 2013) http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2013/12/09/senior-israel-jordanian-palestinian-representatives-water-sharing-agreement [hereinafter World Bank Release]. 
  69. Id. 
  70. Sharon Udasin, Israeli, Jordanian Officials Signing Historic Agreement on Water Trade, The Jerusalem Post (Feb. 26, 2015) http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/New-Tech/Israeli-Jordanian-officials-signing-historic-agreement-on-water-trade-392312 (last visited Feb. 21, 2018). 
  71. See Background Note, supra note 11, at 2. 
  72. Country Partnership Framework for the Period FY17–FY22, World Bank Group-Jordan, June 15, 2016, Report No. 102746-JO. 
  73. See White House Release, supra note 55; Dalia Hatuqa, Water Deal Tightens Israel’s Control Over Palestinians, Al Jazeera (Aug. 1, 2017) http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/07/water-deal-tightens-israel-control-palestinians-170730144424989.html (last visited Jan. 9, 2018). 
  74. See World Bank Release, supra note 66 (emphasis added). 
  75. In November of 2017, Israeli media reported that Israel was refusing to further participate in the project until it was allowed to reopen its embassy in Amman. In February of 2018, Israeli and Jordanian media reported that “Jordan is committed to implementing the . . . Project despite repeated Israeli signals that it was withdrawing from the regional scheme.” Hana Namrouqa, Jordan to Go Ahead with Red–Dead Water Project Despite Israel Withdrawal, The Jerusalem Post (Feb. 12, 2018) http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Jordan-to-go-ahead-with-Red-Sea-Dead-Sea-project-542417 (last visited Feb. 21, 2018). In late January, after six months of shut down and diplomatic dispute, the Israeli embassy began the process of gradually reopening; in early February, a Jordan government official reported they had not yet been notified of the naming of a new ambassador. Mohammad Ghazal, Jordan Says “Not Officially Notified” of New Israeli Ambassador, Jordan Times (Feb. 8, 2018) http://www.jordantimes.com/news/local/jordan-says-not-officially-notified%E2%80%99-new-israeli-ambassador (last visited Feb. 22, 2018). 
  76.  See Beyth, supra note 9. 
  77. See NRDC report, supra note 8. 
  78. Id. 
  79. See Information Note, supra note 61, at 4. 
  80. Tahal Group & Geological Survey of Israel & Assocs., Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Program: Dead Sea Study Final Report (2011); Thetis SpA, et al., Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Program Additional Studies: Red Sea Study Final Report (2013); ERM, et al., Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Environmental and Social Assessment: Final Environmental and Social Assessment (ESA) Report (2014) [hereinafter Final ESA]. 
  81. Vladimir Zbranek, Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Program: Chemical Industry Analysis Study Final Report (2013); World Bank Group, Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Program: Study of Alternatives Final Report (2014). 
  82. See Feasibility Study, supra note 4, at 82. 
  83. Id. at 82–83. 
  84. Id. at 83. 
  85.  See Final ESA, supra note 78, at 4, 9, 34. 
  86. See supra note 73 and accompanying text. 
  87. See supra note 49 and accompanying text. 
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