Middle East Water Management

"Water can wash away a lot of problems. When professionals sit together from both sides, solutions appear. There is no reason why politicians cannot reach similar results."  Although that might also be our comment about the Canterbury Water Management Strategy [see 2 Jun., below], it actually comes as the final sentence in the introductory chapter of a 2010 book edited by Alon Tal and Alfred Abed Rabbo: "Water Wisdom: Preparing the Groundwork for Cooperative and Sustainable Water Management in the Middle East".  As if the political tensions between Palestinians and Israelis were not enough to make this such a difficult topic, the recent 5 successive years of drought have added to the already challenging hydrological statistics. Somewhat surprisingly, the contributors to this book from both sides of the political divide show that they have much agreement on the hydrological issues and priorities confronting them. While Israel's fresh water resources are very scarce by international standards, those currently available to the Palestinians are even less adequate. Water quality is a major issue. The book editors claim consensus of their contributors that: "Water is not just a commodity or a resource to be produced or mined, but holds a special spiritual and religious role for both sides in the conflict."  Water management in the Middle East takes place in extreme biophysical and political environments. Sometimes there are useful lessons available from extremes for those in much more favourable circumstances - like Canterbury!
Source: Water Wisdom: Preparing the Groundwork for Cooperative and Sustainable Water Management in the Middle East. Alon Tal and Alfred Abed Rabbo [Ed's], Rutgers University Press 2010.