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[May Free Report] - The Jordan River Conflict

by Alex Kim | 01-06-2023 00:53 recommendations 0

The Jordan River is situated in the Middle East which, as part of the Middle East and North Africa region, is known as the most water-scarce region in the world. The river’s altitude is in structural depression, having the lowest elevation of any river in the world. The river rises throughout the slopes of Mount Hermon which is a border between Syria and Lebanon west of Damascus, and flows southward through northern Israel to the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias). On the west, the river is bordered by the Israel and Palestine border. 

The Jordan River conflict is a long-standing issue related to the use and control of the Jordan River and its water resources. The Jordan River primarily flows through four countries: Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. The river is a crucial source of freshwater for the region and supports agriculture, industry, and human consumption.

The Jordan River conflict is multi-layered, involving political factors regarding the allocation of its resources, disputes due to the historical/religious significance it holds for the countries involved, and environmental concerns arising from the ongoing conflict. 

The root of the conflict behind the geopolitical control over the Jordan river lies in the fact that the countries involved are situated in the most water-scarce region in the world. In 1967 from June 5 to June 10, in what was known as the Six-Day War, Israel captured Golan Heights, a region containing the headwaters of the Jordan River (Hasbani, Banias and Dan), from Syria. The Jordan River’s headwaters are fed by groundwater and seasonal surface runoff Israel's control of the Jordan River's headwaters gave it a significant advantage over other countries in the region, as it could control the amount of water that flowed downstream throughout the surrounding nations. This initiated rising tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors, particularly Jordan and Syria as the control of the Jordan River basin became a major point of contention. As tensions escalated, Israel strategically accelerated its usage of the Jordan River, building a series of dams, reservoirs, and canals to divert water from the Jordan River to its agricultural lands in the Negev desert. Being situated in a water-scarce region amplifies the impact that Israel’s control of the Jordan River basin has on surrounding nations. For example, Jordan, a nation heavily dependent on the Jordan River for its water supply, accused Israel of diverting too much water from the river, leaving it with a shortage of water for its growing population. 

Religious factors also play a significant role in the conflict over the control of the Jordan River basin. Mentioned in the Bible and considered a sacred site by Jews, Christians, and Muslims, the Jordan River is believed to be the site where Jesus was baptized. In addition, the Jordan River is a vital source of water for the Jordan Valley, which is mentioned in the Bible as the "land of milk and honey” further highlighting the significance that the Jordan River has in providing water for its region. The religious significance of the Jordan River escalated tensions between the surrounding countries due to their conflicting Israeli and Arab backgrounds.

The Jordan River is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including many endemic species that are unique to the region. Some of the key species found in the river and its surrounding areas include the common kingfisher, the Palestine sunbird, the Syrian woodpecker, and the Jordanian frog. 

This rich biodiversity, however,  is under threat due to a variety of factors mainly pertaining to human action. One of the main threats is the diversion of water for human use, which has significantly reduced the flow of the river and impacted its ecosystems. Dams and other infrastructure projects have also disrupted the natural flow of the river, which can have negative impacts on aquatic habitats and species. 

Possible solutions:

  • Negotiation and agreement on water allocation and management: The countries involved can come together to negotiate and agree on the allocation and management of the water resources in the Jordan River basin. This can involve the establishment of a joint management committee, which would oversee the distribution of water resources and ensure that all parties have equal access to the water.

  • Development of new water sources: The countries can explore the development of new water sources, such as desalination plants, to increase the availability of water and reduce reliance on the Jordan River.

  • Conservation and water efficiency measures: The countries can implement conservation and water efficiency measures to reduce water demand and minimize wastage. This can include the use of drip irrigation systems, wastewater treatment, and recycling.

  • International cooperation: The countries can seek international cooperation and support to address the water crisis. This can include the involvement of international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Red Cross in the negotiation and implementation of water management solutions.

 

AlexKim

  • Philippines Former E-gen Ambassador Alex Kim
 
 
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2 Comments

Yewon Mentor

  • Yewon Mentor says :
    Hello Alex! Again, this is your mentor Yewon.

    I apologize for my late comment!

    This time, you have written a report about the Jordan River conflict. Rivers offer great advantages to humans, so many conflicts have occurred in connection with the possession of the river. By reading your report, I could understand the complexity related to this problem. I hope this problem could be solved soon, in a peaceful way!

    Thank you for your great report!
    Posted 27-06-2023 03:16

James Mentor

  • James Mentor says :
    Hello again Alex!! This is your mentor James.

    To be honest, I had little information regarding this conflict in the Middle East! I did know about the cultural and economic significance of the Jordan River. I can't agree more with your solutions regarding the conservation of the river's ecosystem and biodiversity; peaceful negotiations and active engagement in restoring what have been lost due to ignorant consumption is required from not only the corresponding nations, but also from global environmental organizations!

    Thanks for writing such a meaningful report! Great work.
    Posted 24-06-2023 15:16

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