Studies look at ways to save Jordan River


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Large sections of the lower Jordan River could dry out by next year unless the region’s countries take action, according to two studies.

Some 400 million cubic meters of water are needed to restore the river, the reports have found.

The studies were presented Sunday by EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East at an international conference held in Amman, Jordan. Jordanian, Israeli and Palestinian experts joined to write the studies.

The section of the Jordan River in danger of running dry runs from Lake Kinneret to the Dead Sea.

Israel, Jordan and Syria divert 98 percent of the Jordan River’s flow for each country’s use.

One report, titled "An environmental flows report on the rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River," calls on the governments of the region to work together toward the river’s rehabilitation as a concrete project of the Middle East peace process. According to the study, Israel would contribute 220 cubic meters of water, Syria 100 cubic meters and Jordan 90 cubic meters.

The second study, "An economic analysis of policy options for water conservation in Jordan, Israel and Palestine," identifies more than 1 billion cubic meters of water that could be saved and made available from the water economies of Israel, Jordan and a future Palestinian state for other purposes, including fairer share and reviving the Lower Jordan River, by stopping poor water practices.

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