Bookstore Glossary Library Links News Publications Timeline Virtual Israel Experience
Anti-Semitism Biography History Holocaust Israel Israel Education Myths & Facts Politics Religion Travel US & Israel Vital Stats Women
donate subscribe Contact About Home

Water in Israel: Declaration on Principles for Cooperation on Water-Related Matters & Water Resources

(February 13, 1996)

As part of the Program adopted by the Multilateral Working Group on Water Resources (MWGWR) of the Middle East Peace Process, the Government of Norway has sponsored certain activities of the agenda.

Within this context comparative studies on Water Legislation, Institution, Institutions and Pricing of the Core Parties were commissioned and executed.

As an outcome of these studies the Parties, facilitated by the Government of Norway and the Office of Gavelholder, have identified common denominators in their water resources management systems and proclaimed this Declaration on Principles for Cooperation Among the Core Parties on Water-related Matters and New and Additional Water Resources. Although the Core Parties in the Middle East Peace Process are considered to be Jordan, Syria, Israel, Lebanon and the PLO for the benefit of the Palestinian Authority, for the purposes of this Declaration, the term the Core Parties are those who are signatories to this Declaration.

The Core Parties agree that this Declaration and the cooperation thereunder will not affect or alter in any form or manner any fo the bilateral or other agreements or undertakings among them, nor does it prohibit or constrain any bilateral arrangements, understandings or agreements aimed at enhancing cooperation in water-related matters.

The Core Parties view this Declaration as an expression of:

  • The role of the multilateral talks in promoting cooperation and confidence-building in the field of water resources and in the importance of cooperation for the promotion of matters of mutual interest.

  • A joint resolve to cooperate among them in the development of New and Additional Water Resources.

  • The importance of water resources management on the basis of locally compatible legal, economic and institutional frameworks and principles.

  • The recognition that cooperative efforts among them will faciltiate the development of New and Additional Water Resources for their joint benefit.

  • The ability to cooperate on the basis of the common denominators identified within their respective water management systems.

The Core Parties proclaim as objectives of their cooperation:

  • identifying the needs for New and Additional Water Resources;

  • identifying potential New and Additional Water Resources and the development thereof;

  • combining their cooperative efforts in the developmetn of New and Additional Water Resources; and

  • enhancing their water supply, and icnreasing the efficiency of its use.

The Declaration consists of three parts, namely: Common Denominators, Principles of Cooperation on New and Additional Water Resources, and Cooperation on Other Water-Related Matters.


The Core Parties identified and agreed to the following common denominators in their water legislation as a basis for cooperation among themselves:

  1. Water Resources in Legislation

    Their respective water legislations apply to all types of water resources including wastewater and desalinated water.

  2. Ownership and Administration of Water Resources

    All water resources of each party are publicly owned and/or centrally controlled. They are used for the benefit of their respective societies. The Core Parties promote public participation in water resources management. Well drilling, water production and supply are allowed only by permit or license. A Central Water Authority/ Government Agency exists in each of the Core Parties, and exercises effective control over water resources.

  3. Allocation

    Domestic uses occupy the first priority in the allocation of water resources.

  4. Drought Measures

    The Core Parties will take appropriate measures in periods of drought and water scarcity.

  5. Water Quality and Protection

    Water quality standards for various water uses have been adopted by each of the Core Parties; water preservation is an overriding concern, and enforcement powers exist in the hands of competent authorities to prevent water pollution, and to mitigate any negative environmental impacts on them at the expense of the polluters.

  6. Data and Record Keeping

    Obligations exist, pursuant to the legislation of each Core Party, to measure, monitor and keep proper record of all water production, supplies and consumption.

  7. Compliance and Enforcement

    Proper sanctions against non-compliance are explicit in the respective legislation of each of the Core Parties. Enforcement of the water legislation is the norm.

  8. Water Charges

    Water is not supplied free of charge in any of the Core Parties. Tariff structures, taking into account different extents of cost recovery, apply to domestic, industrial and agricultural sectors. These tariffs are periodically reviewed and adjusted.


  1. Definitions

    For the purpose of this Declaration:

    1.1 New and Additional Water Resources are only those potential water resources which are not Existing Water Resources, and which are not part of new and additional water resources developed pursuant to bilateral agreements.

    1.2 Existing Water Resources are the individual resources of each of the respective parties' renewable, non-renewable and waste water resources.

    1.3 Cooperating Parties are those of the Core Parties, signatories to this Declaration, which actively participate in the development of any specific Project relating to new and additional water resources.

    1.4 A New and Additional Water Resources Project, hereinafter the Project, means a project among Cooperating Parties to develop New and Additional Water Resources by specific agreement.

  2. General Principles

    2.1 The development of New and Additional Water Resources will not adversely affect the development or utilization of Existing Water Resources.

    2.2 All arrangements with respect to New and Additional Water Resources will be limited in time and subject to periodic mutual review.

  3. Mechanisms of Cooperation

    3.1 Cooperation among the Core Parties will be carried out by their respective water institutions through joint bodies on a ministerial and managerial level to be established, as appropriate, for each respective Party.

    3.2 Each Project requires the consensus of all the Cooperating Parties for implementation.

  4. Ownership and Utilization

    4.1 New and Additional Water Resources, developed in joint effort by the Core Parties for the benefit of some or all of them, will be considered as part of their own water resources only to the extent of the share allocated to them.

    4.2 Details concerning the utilization and ownership will be the subject of separate agreements for each Project.

    4.3 Each Core Party can apply its legislation, within its respective jurisdiction, on the share allocated to it by each Project.

  5. Technical, Economic and Financial Issues

    5.1 Projects will be technically, economically, and financially sustainable.

    5.2 The Cooperating Parties will carry their respective share of the project financing including the costs of operation, maintenance, and amortization of the Project. Due regard will be given to less developed Cooperating Parties and joint efforts will be made to assist in the obtaining of financing on favorable terms, provided that no such efforts affect any of the bilateral donor/recipients arrangements or protocols.

    5.3 The Cooperating Parties agree to participate jointly in the raising of the funds needed for the Project implementation, and to secure the funds needed for the operation and maintenance of the new water system.

    5.4 The cost to each of the Cooperating Parties of water derived from New and Additional Resources will be based upon the cost of production, operation, maintenance and amortization.

    5.5 Water derived from the New and Additional Resources will not be subject to levies on account of conveyance, storage, treatment, or protection in excess of levies which the owner of the project would normally incur.

    5.6 Cooperating Parties may, by mutual consent, trade the use of their respective shares of the waters from New and Additional Resources, provided that such trading does not cause harm to the shares allocated to any other Cooperating Parties.

  6. Environmental Management

    6.1 All Projects will be based on environmentally sound principles.

    6.2 The Cooperating Parties give preference to those Projects which utilize advanced technological water usage methods.

    6.3 Each Cooperating Party is responsible for the protection of the Project against environmental pollution originating within its jurisdiction.

  7. Water Protection

    7.1 Each Cooperating Party is responsible for the prevention of harm to those parts of the Projects under its jurisdiction.

    7.2 Such responsibility includes inter alia the preservation of water quality and the prevention of unauthorized withdrawals.

  8. Operation and Maintenance

    The Cooperating Parties will set the standards for the operation and maintenance of the Projects.

  9. Areas of Cooperation

    It is understood that the following potential areas of cooperation in the development of New and Additional Water Resources for the Cooperating Parties will be further studied in order to determine their feasibility:

    9.1 acquisition and import of water including the possibility of carrying such waters through existing or new supply systems (wheeling);

    9.2 development of desalination plants;

    9.3 rainfall enhancement; and

    9.4 any other relevant area of cooperation


Cooperation on other water-related matters, although originating among the Core Parties, will be open to regional and extra-regional parties of the Multilateral Working Group on Water Resources.

  1. Cooperation on Specific Sectors

    The Parties express their desire to cooperate among themselves and with other interested Parties on the following Other Water-related Matters:

    1.1 weather forecasting, climatology, weather modification, and meteorology;

    1.2 environmental conservation;

    1.3 sustainable water-related natural resources management and desertification control;

    1.4 enhancement of public awareness and participation; and

    1.5 human resources development

  2. Proposed Areas of Cooperation

    The Core Parties will in due time explore possible cooperation among themselves and with other interested parties in the following areas:

    2.1 collection, filing, processing, transmission and exchange of water data and related information.

    2.2 preparation of plans for flood-protection and utilization; with emphasis on development of Early Warning Systems;

    2.3 development of norms, standards and specifications for water devices, equipment and infrastructure;

    2.4 transfer and adoption of advanced technology throughout the chains of water storage, conveyance and application, including automation and controls of water systems; particularly related to reduction of crop water requirements;

    2.5 water-energy interactions, with emphasis on desalinization;

    2.6 establishment of a Regional Center; and 2.7 identification of ways to achieve optimal use of water in the agricultural sector.

  3. Mechanism of Cooperation

    3.1 The Cooperating Parties will decide on the mechanism of their cooperation on other water-related matters set out in this section.

    3.2 All decisions with respect to cooperation on Other Water-related Matters will be adopted by consensus.

  4. Specific Cooperation

    4.1 The Core Parties agree to hold Regional Seminars on various water-related matters;

    4.2 The Core Parties agree to publish the results of their cooperation in a Regional Publication.

  5. Extended Cooperation

    The Cooperating Parties may by consensus agree to include additional water-related matters in their cooperation.

Sources: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs