Israel-Jordan Relations: Water Cooperation
With signing the Israel-Jordan peace treaty in October 1994, both countries agreed to work toward achieving a comprehensive and lasting settlement of all the water problems between them. Israel agreed to provide Jordan with approximately 75 million cubic meters of water per year while Jordan agreed to recognize Israel's rightful allocation to water in the Jordan and Yarmouk Rivers.
Israel and Jordan also agreed that in order to meet both countries future water needs, they would have to initiate projects of regional and international cooperation to ensure the best management and development of limited resources. The peace treaty also stipulated that Israel and Jordan would work bilaterally to prevent contamination of shared water resources and give mutual assistance in the alleviation of water shortages.
In June 1999, Israel, Jordan and the United States signed an agreement launching a joint Israeli-Jordanian project to protect the Eilat-Aqaba Gulf, a project that was originally agreed upon in the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty. According to the agreement, joint teams of scientists from Israel and Jordan will work together to protect and research the coral reef reserves in the gulf. The parties will exchange information and scientific data, and will conduct educational activities among residents of Eilat and Aqaba.
Senior Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian representatives signed a water sharing agreement in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on December 9, 2013 that was heralded as a milestone of cooperation between all parties involved. The agreement was made official at The World Bank Headquarters and was signed by H.E. Minister Silvan Shalom for Israel, H.E. Minister Hazim El-Naser for Jordan and H.E. Minister Shaddad Attilifor the Palestinian Authority. Within the MoU are three major regional water sharing initiatives that will support the management of scarce water resources in the region and contribute to the development and discovery of new water resources. The agreement includes plans for the construction of an 80 million cubic meter sea water desalination plant in Aqaba on the Red Sea to provide water that will be shared between the three represented entities, and also provides for increased sales of water to Jordan from Israel's lake Tiberias. The Red Sea–Dead Sea Conduit, also known as the Two Seas Canal, will carry water north from the Red Sea, hopefully slowing down the Dead Sea's desiccation.
According to the agreement, some 200 million cubic meters of water will be pumped annually out of th Red Sea - 80 million will be desalinated at a special facility in Aqaba, Jordan; 30-50 million will be allocated to Israel for use in the Arava and Eilat; 30 million will go to Jordan for their southern region; and, approximately 32 million will be sold to the Palestinian Authority. Israeli Energy Minister Silvan Shalom, who represented Israel at the signing ceremony in Washington, called the arrangement "a historic agreement," adding it was a "dream come true."
In December 2016 Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announced to his Cabinet that the US,
the EU and Japan are financing this joint Israel-Jordan-Palestinian Authority project. According to the plan, said Netanyahu, the pipeline project will begin providing fresh water to communities in 2020.
Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry;
Israel, Jordan, Close to Issuing Bid for Red Sea–Dead Sea Canal, Jewish Press, (November 5, 2015);
Netanyahu to Cabinet: ‘Working Overtime’ in Search of Amona Solution, Jewish Press, (December 4, 2016);
Fake News: Greenblatt Announces Israel Will Include PA in Water Project It Is Already On, Jewish Press, (July 12, 2017).