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9th International Rainwater Catchment Systems Conference
"Rainwater Catchment: An Answer to the Water Scarcity of the Next Millennium."
Petrolina, Brazil - July 1999

Section 11: Hydrology-Related Issues

Paper 11.1

Water As A Means of Reconciliation in the Middle East

Mehmet Aydin & Sermet Onder
Dept. Soil Sci., Faculty of Agriculture, University of Mustafa Kemal
TR-31034, Antakya, Turkey


Fresh water, the key element for life, is a critical resource in the Middle East. There is a conflict among the region's countries because of scarcity and misuse of fresh-water. Scarcity is one element of the crisis, inefficiency is another factor. In fact, water used in the agricultural sector exceeds by ten times water used in the industrial and municipal sectors combined. There has been a rapid population growth in the Middle East in recent decades. This population boom has put an extreme pressure on the existing limited and vulnerable water resources.

An integrated management of water resources including technical, social and economic aspects is needed, since, unlike oil, water cannot be easily exported from a water-surplus country to a water-deficit country due to economic, political, environmental, psychological, ideological and emotional reasons.

One of the most important aspects of land and water resource development programs is to determine the inventory of the resources. The resources and opportunities should be known accurately, and current supplies and future supplies which will be available as a result of supply management policies in terms of foreseeable water demands should be considered. However, in the Middle East there is no scientific co-operation on the crucial importance of demand management aiming at water use efficiency, equity, and long-term water security. If nations of the region would share both water technology and boundary resources, fresh-water could not drive them to war, and it will not be a hindrance for peace.

In 1988, Turkey proposed a "peace pipeline" of water from two Turkish rivers- the Ceyhan and Seyhan- that flow south into the Mediterranean sea. The dual pipelines would deliver potable water to millions in Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other Arab gulf states.

PDF of full document (6pp, 24kb)

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