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Water politics in the Jordan River basin

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Water politics in the Jordan River basin

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River Jordan
Arabic: نهر الأردن, nahr al-urdun, Hebrew: נהר הירדן, nehar hayarden
Name origin: Greek: Ιορδάνης < Hebrew: ירדן (yardén, "descender") < ירד

Countries Israel, Jordan, West Bank

 - left Banias, Dan, Jalud
 - right Yarmouk, Jabbok, Jabesh (Wadi Yabis)
City Jericho
Landmark Sea of Galilee

Source Hasbani

Length 251 km (156 mi)

Water politics in the Jordan River basin are the political issues of water within the Jordan River drainage basin, including competing claims and water usage, and issues of riparian rights of surface water along transnational rivers, as well as the availability and usage of ground water. Water resources in the region are scarce, and these issues directly affect the five political subdivisions (Israel, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan) located within and bordering the basin, which were created since the collapse, during World War I, of the former single controlling entity, the Ottoman Empire. Because of the scarcity of water and a unique political context, issues of both supply and usage outside the physical limits of the basin have been included historically. The basin and its water are central issues of both the Arab-Israeli Conflict and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Jordan River is 251 kilometres (156 mi) long and, over most of its distance, flows at elevations below sea level in a northern extension of the Great Rift Valley. Its waters originate from the high precipitation areas in and near the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the north, and flow through the Sea of Galilee and Jordan River Valley ending in the Dead Sea at an elevation of minus 400 metres, in the south.
Downstream of the Sea of Galilee, where the main tributaries enter the Jordan Valley form the east, the valley bottom widens to about 15 miles (24 km). This area is characterized by higher alluvial or beach terraces paralleling the river; this area is known as the Ghor (or Ghawr). These terraces are locally incised by side wadis or rivers forming a maze of ravines, alternating with sharp crests and rises, with towers, pinnacles and a badlands morphology.
At a lower elevation is the active Jordan River floodplain, the zhor (or Zur), with a wildly meandering course, which accounts for the excessive length of the river in comparison to the straight line distance to reach the Dead Sea. Small dams were built along the river within the Zhor, turning the former thickets of reeds, tamarisk, willows, and white poplars into irrigated fields. After flowing through the Zur, the Jordan drains into the Dead Sea across a broad, gently sloping delta.
In the upper Jordan river basin, upstream of the Sea of Galilee, the tributaries include:
  • The Hasbani (Arabic: الحاصباني‎), Snir (Hebrew: שניר‎), which flows from Lebanon.
  • The Banias (Arabic: بانياس ‎), Hermon (Hebrew: חרמון‎), arising from a spring at Banias near the foot of Mount Hermon.
  • The Dan (Hebrew: דן‎), Leddan (Arabic: اللدان‎), whose source is also at the base of Mount Hermon.
  • Berdara (Arabic: دردره‎), or Braghith (Arabic: براغيث‎), The Iyon or Ayoun (Hebrew: עיון‎), a smaller stream which also flows from Lebanon.
The lower Jordan River tributaries include:
  • The Jalud in the Beth Shean valley
  • The Yarmouk River, which originates on the south-eastern slopes of Mount Hermon and the Hauran Plateau, forms the southern limit of the Golan Heights and flows into the Jordan River below the Sea of Galilee. It also defines portions of the border between Jordan and Syria, as well as a shorter portion between Jordan and Israel.
  • The Zarqa River, the Biblical Jabbok
  • Jabesh (Wadi Yabis) named after Jabesh-Gilead



[edit] Hydrology of the Jordan River

The riparian rights to the Jordan River are shared by 4 different countries: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Palestine; although Israel as the occupying authority has refused to give up any of the water resources to the Palestinian National Authority.[1] The Jordan River originates near the borders of three countries, Israel, Lebanon, and Syria, with most of the water derived from the Anti-Lebanon Mountains and Mount Hermon to the north and east. Three spring-fed headwater rivers converge to form the Jordan River in the north:
  1. The Hasbani River, which rises in south Lebanon, with an average annual flow of 138 million cubic metres,
  2. The Dan River, in Israel, averaging 245 million cubic metres per year, and
  3. The Banias River flowing from the Golan Heights, averaging 121 million cubic metres per year.
These streams converge six kilometres inside Israel and flow south to the Sea of Galilee, wholly within Israel.[2]
Water quality is variable in the river basin. The three tributaries of the upper Jordan have a low salinity of about 20 ppm.[3] The salinity of water in Lake Tiberias ranges from 240 ppm in the upper end of the lake (marginal for irrigation water), to 350 ppm (too high for sensitive citrus fruits) where it discharges back into the Jordan River.[3] The salt comes from the saline subterranean springs. These springs pass through the beds of ancient seas and then flow into Lake Tiberias, as well as the groundwater sources that feed into the lower Jordan. Downstream of Tiberias, the salinity of the tributary Yarmouk River is also satisfactory, at 100 ppm,[3] but the lower Jordan river becomes progressively more saline as it flows south. It reaches twenty-five percent salinity (250,000 ppm) where it flows in the Dead Sea, which is about seven times saltier than the ocean.[4]
As a resource for freshwater the Jordan River drainage system is vital for most of the population of Palestine, Israel and Jordan, and to a lesser extent in Lebanon and Syria who are able to utilise water from other national sources. (Although Syrian riparian rights to the Euphrates has been severely restricted by Turkey's dam building programme, a series of 21 dams and 17 hydroelectric stations built on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, in the 1980s, 90s and projected to be completed in 2010, in order to provide irrigation water and hydroelectricity to the arid area of southeastern Turkey.[5]) The CIA analysis in the 1980s placed the Middle East on the list of possible conflict zones because of water issues. Twenty per cent of the region's population lack access to adequate potable water and 35% of the population lack appropriate sanitation.[6]
Sharing water resources involves the issue of water use, water rights, and distribution of amounts. The Palestinian National Authority wished to expand and develop the agricultural sector in the West Bank to decrease their dependency on the Israeli labour market, while Israel have prevented an increase in the irrigation of the West bank.[7] Jordan also wishes to expand its agricultural sector so as to be able to achieve food security.[8]
The articles establish two principles for the use of international watercourses (other than navigation): "equitable and reasonable utilization".[9] and "the 'due diligence' obligation not to cause significant harm."[9] Equitable and reasonable utilization requires taking into account all relevant factors and circumstances, including:
  • (a) Geographic, hydrographic, hydrological, climatic, ecological and other factors of a natural character;
  • (b) The social and economic needs of the watercourse States concerned;
  • (c) The population dependent on the watercourse in each watercourse State;
  • (d) The effects of the use or uses of the watercourses in one watercourse State on other watercourse States;
  • (e) Existing and potential uses of the watercourse;
  • (f) Conservation, protection, development and economy of use of the water resources of the watercourse and the costs of measures taken to that effect;
  • (g) The availability of alternatives, of comparable value, to a particular planned or existing use.[11][12]

[edit] Historical Background

Studies of regional water resources and their development, in modern terms, date from the early 1900s during the period of Ottoman rule;[13] they also follow in light of a significant engineering milestone and resource development achievement.[14] Based largely on geographic, engineering and economic considerations many of these plans included common components, but political considerations and international events would soon follow.[13]
In the late 1930s and mid 1940s, Transjordan and the World Zionist Organization commissioned mutually exclusive competing water resource studies. The Transjordanian study, performed by Michael G. Ionides, concluded that the available water resources are not sufficient to sustain a Jewish state which would be the destination for Jewish immigration. The Zionist study, by the American engineer Walter Clay Lowdermilk, concluded that by diverting water from the Jordan basin to support agriculture and residential development in the Negev, a Jewish state supporting 4 million new immigrants would be sustainable.[15] At the end of the 1948 Arab Israeli War with the signing of the General Armistice Agreements in 1949, both Israel and Jordan embarked on implementing their competing initiatives to utilize the water resources in the areas under their control.
The first "Master Plan for Irrigation in Israel" was drafted in 1950 and approved by a Board of Consultants (of the USA) on March 8, 1956. The main features of the Master Plan was the construction of the Israeli National Water Carrier (NWC), a project for the integration of all major regional projects into the Israeli national grid. Tahal - Water Planning for Israel Ltd., an Israeli public corporate body, was established in 1952, being largely responsible for planning of water development, drainage, etc., at the national level within Israel, including the NWC project which was commissioned in 1965.
In 1953, Israel began construction of a water carrier to take water from the Sea of Galilee to the populated center and agricultural south of the country, while Jordan concluded an agreement with Syria, known as the Bunger plan, to dam the Yarmouk river near Maqarin, and utilize its waters to irrigate Jordanian territory, before they could flow to the Sea of Galilee.[16] Military clashes ensued, and US President Dwight Eisenhower dispatched ambassador Johnston to the region to work out a plan that would regulate water usage.[17]

[edit] Jordan Basin

[edit] Banias

The Syria-Lebanon-Palestine boundary was a product of the post-World War I Anglo-French partition of Ottoman Syria.[18][19] British forces had advanced to a position at Tel Hazor against Turkish troops in 1918 and wished to incorporate all the sources of the Jordan River within the British controlled Palestine. Due to the French inability to establish administrative control, the frontier between Syria and Palestine was fluid. Following the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, and the unratified and later annulled Treaty of Sèvres, stemming from the San Remo conference, the 1920 boundary extended the British controlled area to north of the Sykes Picot line, a straight line between the mid point of the Sea of Galilee and Nahariya. In 1920 the French managed to assert authority over the Arab nationalist movement and after the Battle of Maysalun, King Faisal was deposed.[20] The international boundary between Palestine and Syria was finally agreed by Great Britain and France in 1923 in conjunction with the Treaty of Lausanne, after Britain had been given a League of Nations mandate for Palestine in 1922.[21] Banyas (on the Quneitra/Tyre road) was within in the French Mandate of Syria. The border was set 750 metres south of the spring.[19][22]
In 1941 Australian forces occupied Banyas in the advance to the Litani during the Syria-Lebanon Campaign;[23] Free French and Indian forces also invaded Syria in the Battle of Kissoué.[24] Banias's fate in this period was left in a state of limbo since Syria had come under British military control. After the cessation of World War II hostilities, and at the time Syria was granted Independence (April 1946), the former mandate powers, France and Britain, bilaterally signed an agreement to pass control of Banias to the British mandate of Palestine. This was done against the expressed wishes of the Syrian government who declared France's signature to be invalid. While Syria maintained its claim on Banias in this period, it was administered from Jerusalem.[25][26]
Following the 1948 Arab Israeli War, and the signing of the General Armistice Agreements in 1949, and DMZs included in the Armistice with Syria in July 1949, were "not to be interpreted as having any relation whatsoever to ultimate territorial arrangements." Israel claimed sovereignty over the Demilitarised zones (DMZs), on the basis that, "it was always part of the British Mandated Territory of Palestine." Moshe Dayan and Yosef Tekoah adopted a policy of Israeli control of the DMZ and water sources at the expense of Israel's international image.[27] The Banias spring remained under Syrian control, while the Banias River flowed through the contested Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and into Israel.[28]

[edit] Hasbani

The Hasbani River derives most of its discharge from two springs in Lebanon[29][30] the Wazzani and the Haqzbieh, the latter being a group of springs on the uppermost Hasbani.[31] The Hasbani runs for 25 miles (40 km) in Lebanon before crossing the border and joining with the Banias and Dan Rivers at a point in northern Israel, to form the River Jordan.[32] For about four kilometres downstream of Ghajar, the Hasbani forms the border between Lebanon and northern Israel.
The Wazzani's and the Haqzbieh's combined discharge averages 138 million m³ per year.[33] About 20% of the Hasbani flow[34] emerges from the Wazzani Spring at Ghajar, close to the Lebanese Israeli border, about 3 kilometres west of the base of Mount Hermon. The contribution of the spring is very important, because it is the only continuous year-round flow in the river in either Lebanon or Israel.[35]
Utilization of water resources in the area, including the Hasbani, has been a source of conflict and was one of the factors leading to the 1967 Six-Day War.[36][37] The Hasbani was included in the Jordan Valley Unified Water Plan, proposed in 1955 by special US envoy Eric Johnston.[38] Under the plan, Lebanon was allocated usage of 35 million cubic metres annually from it. The plan was rejected by the Arab League.
In 2001 the Lebanese government installed a small pumping station with a 10 cm bore to extract water to supply Ghajar village.[39] In March 2002 Lebanon also diverted part of the Hasbani to supply Wazzani village. An action that Ariel Sharon said was a "casus belli" and could lead to war.[40][41][42][43]

[edit] Dan

The Dan River is the largest tributary of the Jordan river, whose source is located at the base of Mount Hermon.[44] Until the 1967 Six-Day War, the Dan River was the only source of the river Jordan wholly within Israeli territory. Its flow provides up to 238 million cubic metres of water annually to the Hulah Valley. In 1966 this was a cause of dispute between water planners and conservationists, with the latter prevailing after three years of court adjudication and appeals. The result was a conservation project of about 120 acres (0.49 km2) at the source of the river called the Tel Dan Reserve.[45]

[edit] Huleh marshes

In 1951 the tensions in the area were raised when, in the lake Huleh area (10 km from Banias), Israel initiated a project to drain the marsh land to bring 15,000 acres (61 km2) into cultivation. The project caused a conflict of interests between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Arab villages in the area and drew Syrian complaints to the United Nations.[46][47] On 30 March in a meeting chaired by David Ben-Gurion the Israeli government decided to assert Israeli sovereignty over the DMZs, consequently 800 inhabitants of the villages were forcibly evacuated from the DMZ.[47][48] From 1951 Israel refused to attend the meetings of the Israel/Syria Mixed Armistice Commission. This refusal on the part of Israel not only constituted a flagrant violation of the General Armistice Agreement, but also contributed to an increase of tension in the area. The Security Council itself strongly condemned the attitude of Israel, in its resolution of 18 May 1951, as being "inconsistent with the objectives and intent of the Armistice Agreement"[48]
Under UN auspices and with encouragement from the Eisenhower administration 9 meetings took place between 15 January and 27 January 1953, to regularise administration of the 3 DMZs.[49] At the eighth meeting Syria offered to adjust the armistice lines, and cede to Israel's 70% of the DMZ, in exchange for a return to the pre 1946 international border in the Jordan basin area, with Banias water resources returning uncontested to Syrian sovereignty. On 26 April, the Israeli cabinet met to consider the Syrian suggestions; with head of Israel's Water Planning Authority, Simha Blass, in attendance. Blass noted that while the land to be ceded to Syria was not suitable for cultivation, the Syrian map did not suit Israel's water development plan. Blass explained that the movement of the international boundary in the area of Banias would affect Israel's water rights.[50] The Israeli cabinet rejected the Syrian proposals but decided to continue the negotiations by making changes to the accord and placing conditions on the Syrian proposals. The Israeli conditions took into account Blass's position over water rights and Syria rejected the Israeli counteroffer.[50]
On 4 June 1953 Jordan and Syria concluded a bilateral plan to store surface water at Maqarin (completed in 2006 as Al Wehdah Dam, ), so as to be able to utilise the water resources of the Yarmouk river in the Yarmouk-Jordan valley plan, funded through the Technical Cooperation Agency of the United States of America, the UNRWA and Jordan.[51]
Part of the Hula marshes were re-flooded in 1994 due to the negative effects from the original drainage plan.[52]

[edit] Regional projects

[edit] Lowdermilk

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[edit] McDonald plan

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[edit] Israeli National Water Carrier project

In September 1953, Israel unilaterally started a water diversion project within the Jordan River basin to divert water from the Jordan River at Jacob's Ford (B'not Yacov) to help irrigate the coastal Sharon Plain and eventually the Negev desert. The diversion project consisted of a nine-mile (14 km) channel midway between the Huleh Marshes and Lake Galilee (Lake Tiberias) in the central DMZ to be rapidly constructed. Syria claimed that it would dry up 12,000 acres (49 km2) of Syrian land. The UNTSO Chief of Staff Major General Vagn Bennike of Denmark noted that the project was denying water to two Palestinian water mills, was drying up Palestinian farm land and was a substantial military benefit to Israel against Syria. The US cut off aid to Israel. The Israeli response was to increase work. UN Security Council Resolution 100[53] "deemed it desirable" for Israel to suspend work started on 2 September "pending urgent examination of the question by the Council". Israel finally backed off by moving the intake out of the DMZ and for the next three years the US kept its economic sanctions by threatening to end aid channelled to Israel by the Foreign Operations Administration and insisting on tying the aid with Israel's behaviour.[54] The Security Council ultimately rejected Syrian claims that the work was a violation of the Armistice Agreements and drainage works were resumed and the work was completed in 1957.[55] This caused shelling from Syria and friction with the Eisenhower Administration; the diversion was moved to the southwest to Eshed Kinrot into the Israeli National Water Carrier project, designed by Tahal and constructed by Mekorot.[54][56][57]

[edit] Jordan Valley Unified Water Plan

1955 US ambassador Eric Johnston negotiated the Jordan Valley Unified Water Plan.[38] The plan was for the unified development of the Jordan Valley water resources based on an earlier plan commissioned by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Modeled upon the Tennessee Valley Authority development plan, it was approved by technical water committees of all the regional riparian countries - Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.[58] Though the plan was un-ratified by Israel and rejected by the Arab Higher Committee, Jordan undertook to abide by their allocations under the plan. Israel, after the US linked the Johnston plan to aid, also agreed to accept the allocation provisions.[54][59][60]
Source Lebanon Syria Jordan Israel
Hasbani 35


Jordan (main stream)
22 100 **
90 377* 25
Total 35 132 477 25
except for the above withdrwals
*the waters of the Yarmouk River will be available for the unconditional use of the Kingdom of the [sic] Jordan
** and the waters of the Jordan River will be for unconditional use of Israel.[61]
The East Ghor canal formed part of a larger project - the Greater Yarmouk project - which envisioned two storage dams on the Yarmouk, and a West Ghor Canal, on the West Bank of the Jordan. These projects were never built, due to Israel's occupation of the West Bank of the Jordan River during the Six-Day War. After the Six-Day War, The PLO operated from bases within Jordan, and launched several attacks on Israeli settlements in the Jordan valley, including attacks on water facilities. Israel responded with raids in Jordan, in an attempt to force King Hussein of Jordan to rein in the PLO. The canal was the target of at least 4 of these raids, and was virtually knocked out of commission. The United states intervened to resolve the conflict, and the canal was repaired after Hussien undertook to stop PLO activity in the area.[62]

[edit] Headwater Diversion Plan

First summit of Arab Heads of State was convened in Cairo between January 13–17, 1964, called by Nasser the Egyptian president, to discuss a common policy to confront Israel's national water carrier project which was nearing completion. The second Arab League summit conference voted on a plan which would have circumvent and frustrated it. The Arab and North African states chose to divert the Jordan headwaters rather than the use of direct military intervention. The heads of State of the Arab League considered two options:
  1. The diversion of the Hasbani to the Litani combined with the diversion of the Banias to the Yarmouk,
  2. The diversion of both the Hasbani and the Banias to the Yarmouk.
The Arab league plan selected was for the Hasbani and Banias waters to be diverted to Mukhaiba and stored.[56]
After the 2nd Arab summit conference in Cairo of January 1964 (with the backing of all 13 Arab League members), Syria in a joint project with Lebanon and Jordan, started the development of the water resources of Banias for a canal along the slopes of the Golan toward the Yarmouk River. While Lebanon was to construct a canal form the Hasbani River to Banias and complete the scheme.[63][64] The project was to divert 20 to 30 million cubic metres of water from the river Jordan tributaries to Syria and Jordan for the development of Syria and Jordan.[64][65] The Syrian construction of the Banias to Yarmouk canal got under way in 1965. Once completed, the diversion of the flow would have transported the water into a dam at Mukhaiba for use by Jordan and Syria before the waters of the Banias Stream entered Israel and the Sea of Galilee. Lebanon also started a canal to divert the waters of the Hasbani, whose source is in Lebanon, into the Banias. The Hasbani and Banias diversion works would have had the effect of reducing the capacity of Israel's carrier by about 35% and Israel's overall water supply by about 11%. Israel declared that it would regard such diversion as an infringement of its sovereign rights. The Finance of the project was through contributions by Saudi Arabia and Egypt.[56] This led to military intervention from Israel, first with tank and artillery fire and then, as the Syrians shifted the works further southwards, with airstrikes.

[edit] Six-Day War

On June 10, 1967, the last day of the Six-Day War, Golani Brigade forces quickly invaded the village of Banias where a caliphate era Syrian fort stood. Eshkol's priority on the Syrian front was control of the water sources.[66]

[edit] Subsequent developments

In 1980 Syria unilaterally started a programme of dam building along the Yarmouk.
The southern slopes of Mount Hermon (Jebel esh-Sheikh) as well as the Golan Heights, were unilaterally annexed by Israel in 1981.
1988 The Syrian/Jordanian agreement on development of the Yarmouk is blocked when Israel as a riparian right holder refuses to ratify the plan and the World Bank withholds funding. Israel's augments its Johnson plan allocation of 25,000,000 m³/yr by a further 45,000,000–75,000,000 m³/yr.
The water agreement forms a part of the broader political treaty which was signed between Israel and Jordan in 1994, and the articles relating to water in this agreement do not correspond with Jordan's rights to water as they were originally claimed. The nature and significance of the wider 1994 treaty meant that the water aspect was forced to cede importance and priority in negotiations, giving way to areas such as borders and security in terms of armed force, which were perceived by decision-makers as being the most integral issues to the settlement.[67] Main points from the water sharing in the Jordan/Israel Peace treaty.[68]
Jordan being a country that borders on the Jordan has riparian rights to water from the Jordan basin and upper Jordan tributaries. Due to the water diversion projects the flow to the river Jordan has been reduced from 1,300 million–1,500 million cubic metres to 250 million–300 million cubic metres. Where the water quality has been further reduced as the flow of the river Jordan is made of run-off from agricultural irrigation and saline springs.[69][70]
Israel's subsequent developments have been mainly aimed at enlarging the main distribution system of Israel, run-off interception, reclamation of waste-water, and increasing the operational efficiency of water distribution networks. Over the year, the irrigated area within Israel has increased from 28,000 ha in 1948 to some 220,000 ha in 1997.
Problems can be seen to have emerged in 1999, when the treaty's limitations were revealed by events concerning water shortages in the Jordan basin. A reduced supply of water to Israel due to drought meant that, in turn, Israel which is responsible for providing water to Jordan, decreased its water provisions to the country, provoking a diplomatic disagreement between the two and bringing the water component of the treaty back into question.[71]
Israel's complaints that the reduction in water from the tributaries to the river Jordan caused by the Jordan/Syrian dam look to go unheeded due to the conflict of interest between Israel and her neighbours.[72]

[edit] References

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. ^ Palestine is characterised by limited surface and groundwater water resources. The main surface water system in the region is the Jordan River basin which begins in three headwaters. The Hasbani River originates in Lebanon and has at least parts of its flow in Lebanon with an average flow of 138 million cubic metres per year. The Dan and Banias (Nahal Hermon in Israel) Rivers originate in the Golan Heights and both flow into the Jordan above Tabariyya Lake [Lake Galilee] having an average flow of 1.3 km³/yr. The Jordan River Basin is considered under international law as an international river with water shared by; Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestine. Daibes-Murad, Fadia (2005) A New Legal Framework for Managing the World's Shared Groundwaters: A Case Study from the Middle East IWA Publishing, ISBN 1-84339-076-0 pp 37-39
  2. ^ Lowi, Miriam R. (1995) Water and Power: The Politics of a Scarce Resource in the Jordan River Basin Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-55836-0 p 25
  3. ^ a b c John D. Keenan, Technological Aspects of Water Resources Management: Euphrates and Jordan, in Country Experiences with Water Resources Management 37-49, at 37 (World Bank Technical Paper No. 175, 1992) (Guy Le Moigne & Shakwi Barghouti eds.).
  4. ^ Aaron Wolf & John Ross, The Impact of Scarce Water Resources on the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 32 Nat. Resources J. 919, 922 (1992). The Dead Sea receives an average flow from the Jordan River of 1.85 km³/yr (1.85 billion m3/year).
  5. ^ Turkey.Clive Agnew, Ewan W. Anderson (1992) Water Resources in the Arid Realm Routledge, ISBN 0-415-04346-8 pp 198-199
  6. ^ Swain, Ashok (2004) Managing Water Conflict: Asia, Africa, and the Middle East Routledge, ISBN 0-7146-5566-X p 79
  7. ^ Shapland Greg (1997) Rivers of Discord: International Water Disputes in the Middle East C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, ISBN 1-85065-214-7 p 52
  8. ^ Shapland Greg (1997) ibid p 53
  9. ^ a b c UN Document A/RES/51/229 8 July 1997 Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses 1997
  10. ^ McCaffrey Stephen C. (2001) The Law of International Watercourses: Non-navigational Uses Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-825787-2 Annex A pp 446-464
  11. ^ 36 I.L.M. 700 (1997). Was passed by a vote of 103 in favour, to 3 against (Burundi, China, Turkey), with 27 abstentions (Andorra, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Israel, Mali, Monaco, Mongolia, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, Spain, Tanzania and Uzbekistan). The Convention has been signed by Finland, Luxembourg, Portugal, South Africa, the Syrian Arab Republic, and Venezuela. [United Nations, Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary General, February 12, 1998. The Convention will enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified or accepted by thirty five signatories, (Article 36)].
  12. ^ Shine, Clare and de Klemm, Iucn, Cyrille (1999) Wetlands, Water and the Law: Using Law to Advance Wetland Conservation and Wise Use IUCN, ISBN 2-8317-0478-2, pp 273-275
  13. ^ a b Historical Development Plans for the Jordan River Basin
  14. ^ Roberts, Chalmers (December 1902), "Subduing the Nile", The World's Work: A History of Our Time V: 2861–2870,, retrieved 2009-07-10 
  15. ^ Water Resources in Jordan, Munther J. Haddadin, pp 237–238, Resources for the Future, 2006
  16. ^ Water Resources in Jordan, Munther J. Haddadin, p 239, Resources for the Future, 2006
  17. ^ Water Resources in Jordan, Munther J. Haddadin, p 32, Resources for the Future, 2006
  18. ^ Fromkin, David (1989). A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East. New York: Owl, ISBN 0-8050-6884-8.
  19. ^ a b MacMillan, Margaret (2001) Peacemakers: The Paris Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War J. Murray, ISBN 0-7195-5939-1 pp 392-420
  20. ^ Shapira, Anita (1999) Land and Power; The Zionist Resort to Force, 1881-1948. Stanford University press, ISBN 0-8047-3776-2 pp 98-110
  21. ^ Exchange of Notes Constituting an Agreement respecting the boundary line between Syria and Palestine from the Mediterranean to El Hammé. Paris, March 7, 1923.
  22. ^ Wilson John F (2004) Ibid pp 177-178
  23. ^ Australian Government Australian war memorials department, Official Histories – Second World War Volume II – Greece, Crete and Syria (1st edition, 1953)
  24. ^ Australian Government, Australian war memorials department, Official Histories – Second World War Volume II – Greece, Crete and Syria (1st edition, 1953), Chapter 16, The Syrian Plan, See Map p 334
  25. ^ Fectio
  26. ^ Wilson John F (2004) ISBN 1-85043-440-9, p 178 Syria claimed that France's signature on the border agreement was invalid, but the British would not discuss the situation. A 'Demilitarised zone' was created at the three disputed points along the border, one of which was the territory around Banias, with Syria withdrawing troops, but continuing to lay claim to the territory within the zone. Thus from the beginning of the Syrian state to the Six-Day War, there was no settled border.
  27. ^ Shlaim, Avi (2000) The Iron Wall; Israel and the Arab World Penguin Books, ISBN 978-0-14-028870-4 p 69
  28. ^ Syria Israel Armistice Agreement UN Doc S/1353 20 July 1949
  29. ^ FAO (Water Resources section) [1]
    Overall, there are about 40 major streams in Lebanon and, based on the hydrographic system, the country can be divided into five regions: …[including] the Hasbani river basin in the south-east.
  30. ^ UNU The Jordan River [2]
    The Dan spring, the largest of the sources of the upper Jordan, lies wholly within Israel close to the border with Syria. The spring sources of the Hasbani River lie entirely within Lebanon. The spring source of the Banias River is in Syria. These three small streams unite 6 km inside Israel at about 70 m above sea level to form the upper Jordan River.
  31. ^ UNU The Jordan River [3]
  32. ^ MERIP Heightened Israeli-Lebanese Tensions Over Jordan's Headwaters [4]
  33. ^ Managing water for peace in the Middle East
  34. ^ Lebanon (FAOWater Resources section)[5]
    Lebanon being at a higher elevation than its neighbours has practically no incoming surface water flow…. Surface water flow to Israel is estimated at 160 million m³/year, of which about 138 million m³ through the Hasbani river including a contribution of 30 million m³ from its tributary, the Wazzani spring.
  35. ^ MERIP Heightened Israeli-Lebanese Tensions Over Jordan's Headwaters [6]
    In the hot summer months, the Wazzani springs are the only source of flowing water in the Hasbani. Upstream from the Wazzani, the river is dry.
  36. ^ MERIP Heightened Israeli-Lebanese Tensions Over Jordan's Headwaters [7]
  37. ^ Harik, Judith Palmer (2005) Hezbollah: The Changing Face of Terrorism I.B.Tauris, ISBN 1-84511-024-2 p 159
  38. ^ a b Cronin, Patrick M. (2008) The Evolution of Strategic Thought Routledge, ISBN 0-415-45961-3 p 189
  39. ^ LA Times Over Israeli Objections, Lebanon Opens Pumping Station on River March 29, 2001
  40. ^ BBC 28 March 2002. Lebanon hails 'liberation of water'
  41. ^ BBC 10 September 2002. Israel warns of war over water
  42. ^ BBC 16 September 2002. US wades into Mid-East water dispute
  43. ^ BBC 17 September 2002. Israel hardens stance on water.
  44. ^ Fred Pearce (2007) When the Rivers Run Dry: Water, the Defining Crisis of the Twenty-first Century Beacon Press, ISBN 0-8070-8573-1 p 169
  45. ^ Jewish agency for Israel
  46. ^ The first Arab summit conference ratified the Arab strategy to thwart Israel's NWC Plan [drainage of the Hula marshes]. The strategy was designed to divert [2 out of the 3 of] Jordan's tributaries [Hasbani, Banias] and prepare

From: Muhammad Ali <>
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Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2011 12:46 PM
Subject: [WideMinds] GEOPOLITICS ------ KAPTAI & TIPAIMUKH !!!!!!!!!

Dear All,

Lots of "HUE & CRY" are going on with the project of building of Tipaimukh Dam . Before we protest about the ill effects of the proposed dam , we should look at our own Kaptai Dam !! When Kaptai Dam was built in 1962 about 100,000 people were displaced and few of them received adequate compensation . Many of the displaced people ( 40,000 ) had left the country ( Settled in India and Burma ). In 2002 during BNP led govt. , two more units were installed to increase the the capacity of the Dam . The BNP govt. did not discuss the new plan with the potentially affected tribal groups who are concerned about loosing the fringe land and an important source of income ( Rice cultivation ).
This the true character of BNP and their ally ! When they are in power they don't care about the people . When you can't protect your own environment , then don't cry and don't do politics with "TIPAIMUKH" !! Please read the following article on Kaptai Dam.

Dr. Muhammad Ali Manik
Member, Advisory Committee,
US Awami League.

Water Resources Development, Vol. 18, No. 1, 197тАУ208, 2002
People versus Power: The Geopolitics of Kaptai Dam in
Environmental Studies, North South University, 12 Kemal Ataturk, Banani C/A, Dhaka 1213,
Bangladesh. E-mail:
ABSTRACT This paper examines the impacts of the Kaptai dam, in the Chittagong Hill
Tracts of Bangladesh, on the tribal communities of that area. Kaptai dam is the only
hydropower source in Bangladesh, with an installed capacity of 230 MW; about 5% of
the electricity consumed in the country is produced there. When the dam was built in
1962, some 100 000 people were displaced and few of them received adequate compensation.
Recently, the Power Development Board (PDB) of Bangladesh has announced a
plan to install two new 50 MW units that will bring the capacity of the dam to 330
MW. This plan will cause the reservoir water level to rise and may take away about 7500
ha of the fringe land, which the tribal people use for rice cultivation during the
AprilтАУAugust period each year. As before, the PDB has not discussed this plan with the
potentially affected tribal groups, who are concerned about losing the fringe land and an
important source of income. The paper discusses the original displacement issue and this
recent development in the light of the geopolitical history of this region. It attempts to
present an objective analysis of these issues and views held by various concerned parties.
It then proposes a scheme for managing the Kaptai reservoir based on a participatory
approach that will ensure both economic efciency and social equity.
Located in the scenic landscape of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), the Kaptai
dam, on the River Karnafuli, is the only hydro-electric power source in
Bangladesh (Figure 1). Commissioned on 30 March 1962, the dam initially had
two hydropower units with a total capacity of 80 MW. Presently, the dam has
ve units with a total capacity of 230 MW and it produces approximately 5% of
the electricity consumed in Bangladesh. Basic features of the dam are shown in
Table 1 (PDB, 1985).
The Kaptai dam was supposed to provide benets in terms of hydropower,
ood control, irrigation and drainage, navigation and enhanced forest resource
harvesting. Most of these objectives have been served in various degrees except
irrigation and drainage. More recently, commercial sh culture and recreation
activities have been introduced in the lake.
This, however, is part of the story. During construction, the dam ooded an
area of some 655 km2, which included about 22 000 ha of cultivable landтАФ40%
of all such land in the CHT. The lake took away the homes of 18 000 families and
displaced 100 000 tribal people, of which 70% were Chakma (Government of
0790-0627 Print/1360-0648 On-line/02/010197тАУ12 ├У 2002 Taylor & Francis Ltd
DOI: 10.1080/0790062022012175 6
198 S. Parveen & I. M. Faisal
Figure 1. Location of the Kaptai dam in the CHT.
Bangladesh, 1975). The dam also ooded the original Rangamati town and the
palace of the Chakma Raja (king).
A rather casual attempt was made to rehabilitate this large group of peopleтАФ
nearly 25% of the local population. Ofcially, the majority of the displaced
people were rehabilitated on the upper reaches of the rivers Kasalong and
Chengi during the early phase of the project (construction of the dam began in
Geopolitics of Kaptai Dam in Bangladesh 199
Table 1. Basic features of the Kaptai dam
Feature Size/type
Body of the dam Earth
Length 670.6 m
Height 45.7 m
Crest width 7.6 m
Maximum water level 33.5 m (110 feet above
mean sea level (MSL))
Minimum water level 20.1 m (66 feet MSL)
Capacity at 33 m MSL 6477 3 106 m3
Reservoir at 33 m MSL 777 km2
Spillway length 227 m
Maximum spillway discharge 16 000 cumecs
Installed capacity (ve units) 230 MW
October 1957). In reality, the newly created тАШenvironmental refugeesтАЩ were
resettled in the low-lying areas of Langdu, Barkal and Bhaghaichari as per the
advice of the project ofcials. Much of this resettlement area had gone underwater
by 1962 as the reservoir gradually lled up, causing many to be displaced
for the second time. This had naturally aggrieved the tribal population as they
received few if any of the benets of the dam.
Many of the displaced people had left the country; some estimates say that
40 000 of them went to the sparsely populated states of Mizoram, Tripura,
Assam and Arunachal in India. Another 20 000 may have gone to Burma
(Samad, 1998). The Chakma people call this event Bara Parang or the Great
Exodus, a detailed account of which may be found in Chakma et al. (1995).
This event and a series of administrative and legislative actions taken since the
birth of Pakistan had ultimately led to the 22-year-long violent and armed
confrontations between the Bangladesh government and the tribal people that
began in the mid-1970s and lasted till the signing of the peace treaty in 1997.
Some provisions of the treaty have not been implemented yet and these remain
as the source of discord between the government of Bangladesh and the tribal
people of the CHT.
In this backdrop, the Power Development Board (PDB) of Bangladesh is
considering a plan to install two new 50 MW units at Kaptai. If materialized,
more water will have to be stored in the reservoir, which may cause the lowest
reservoir level to rise by as much as 6.5 m. As a result, approximately 7500 ha
of the seasonal fringe land may become permanently inundated where rice is
grown from mid-April to mid-August.1 This plan has sparked the old debate
and fear that the dam authority and the government are not sensitive to the
needs of the local people in this region.
This issue has given rise to a series of questions that must be addressed. What
are the arguments put forward by the PDB in support of this plan? Have the
local people been consulted about this plan in advance? Is the government
aware of the geopolitical implications of this potential impact? What actions, if
any, are being considered by the government to address this concern? And
nally, what approach should the government follow so that development of
fresh contentions can be avoided in future?
200 S. Parveen & I. M. Faisal
Objectives and Methodology
The questions raised above will be critically examined in this paper in the light
of the historic development of the geopolitical events in the CHT. The paper will
specically look at the human and environmental impacts of the dam created in
the past as well as the potential impact of the proposed expansion plan
(installing units 6 and 7). Views from both sidesтАФthe tribal communities and the
PDBтАФwill be presented in relation to the operation of the dam and its impacts
on the local people and the environment. The paper will then suggest an
approach that can help resolve this latest issue of dispute in a mutually
agreeable way.
The study will be based on information collected from secondary sources in
the form of papers, reports, books and academic publications and primary
information collected through interviews with key informants.
Geopolitical Description of the CHT
The CHT is located in the south-east part of Bangladesh. The British created this
region in 1860 under the 22nd Administrative Act. At that time, most of it was
densely forested and inhabited by tribal people (less than 5% of the population
were Bengalis from the plain lands). The district was created in recognition of its
unique natural and cultural characteristics. At present, the CHT is comprised of
three administrative districts, Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban, which
were created in 1983. The total area of the CHT is 13 148 km2, which is about
10% of the land area of Bangladesh, although only 2% of the population lived in
the CHT in 1991. Currently, the population of the CHT is evenly composed of
Bengalis (50%) and tribal communities (50%). The Chakma are the largest tribal
group, constituting about 24% of the CHT population. The other major tribes are
the Marma and the Tripura, representing 14% and 6% of the population
(Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, 1995).
Geographically, the CHT can be divided into a number of river valleys:
Chengi, Maini, Kasalong, Rankhiang and Sangu. All these rivers except the
Sangu are tributaries to the Karnafuli River, on which the Kaptai dam is located.
These river valleys are 30тАУ80 km long and 3тАУ10 km wide, surrounded by hills a
few hundred to a thousand metres high. In some places the valleys may be
20тАУ30 km wide. These valleys are very suitable for agriculture and horticulture.
The rest of the CHT mostly comprises hills and forests where the tribal people
practice jhum (shifting slash and burn) cultivation. It includes 1538 km2 of
reserved forest and another 5400 km2 of unclassied state forest areas (Johnson
& Ahmed, 1957; Rashid, 1991). The forests are of both evergreen and deciduous
types and provide valuable resources such as wood (both timber and fuel),
bamboo, cane and honey. Commercial tea and rubber plantations and horticulture
have been introduced in the CHT in recent years.
Chronology of Events in the CHT and the Issue of Human Displacement
The tribal people have been living in the CHT for a long time but they are not
the original settlers in that area. Most of the CHT was not inhabited or was
barely inhabited by people till the large-scale in-migration in the 17th and 18th
centuries. The Chakmas moved into the CHT with their king when the Marma
Geopolitics of Kaptai Dam in Bangladesh 201
Table 2. Chronology of major events in the CHT (1860тАУ1971)
Year Event
1860 Formation of hill tracts under Lord Canning.
1900 The CHT manual was introduced as the basic framework for administration.
1935 The British government of India dened the hills as a тАШtotally excluded areaтАЩ, taking it out of
BengalтАЩs control.
1948 The CHT Police Regulation was annulled and the police force,whichwasmanned by the tribal
people, was disbanded.
1955 The CHT area was surveyed and legal measures for land registration were adopted.
1955 Muslim League leaders tried to designate the CHT as a regular district; this was resisted by
Colonel Niblett, the last British-born Deputy Commissioner of the CHT and the Chakma Raja.
1956 The rst constitution of Pakistan retained the special status of the CHT as the тАШexcluded areaтАЩ.
However, under Clause 51(I), only a Muslim could hold the position of the Head of the State
of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Thus, all the tribal and non-Muslimpeople were effectively
downgraded to second-class citizens.
1958 After the military takeover in Pakistan the тАШopening upтАЩ of the CHT was accelerated.
1960 Government transferred all local indigenous employees in administration to other parts of East
1962 The constitution changed the status of the CHT from an тАШexcluded areaтАЩ to a тАШtribal areaтАЩ.
1962 Construction of the Kaptai hydro-electric dam was completed, which submerged 22 000 ha of
cultivable land and displaced 100 000 people without proper compensation and rehabilitation.
1964 By an act of parliament, the CHT ceased to be a tribal area from 10 January 1964. Accelerated
inux of Bengalis had sown the seed of politicization of the CHT.
1971 Liberation war and independence of Bangladesh.
king of Arakan (most of Arakan lies in Myanmar now) drove him out. Later on,
the Mughols drove the Marma people out of Arakan in 1756 (Hutchinson, 1906).
Other tribes of the CHT have a similar history.
According to Thomas Herbert Lewin, a soldier-cum-administrator of British
IndiaтАЩs north-east frontier, тАЬa greater proportion of the hill tribes at present
living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts undoubtedly came about two generations
ago from Arakan. This is asserted both by their own traditions and by records
in Chittagong CollectorateтАЭ (Lewin, 1869). Accordingly, the claim often made by
the tribal people that they are the тАШsons of the soilтАЩ is not valid in the sense of
being original settlers in the CHT. Bengali settlers lived in parts of the CHT long
before that time, albeit in small numbers.
The different tribal communities of the CHT have lived separately from the
beginning and have distinct linguistic, cultural and anthropological features.
Over the course of about 300 years, these hill communities have gone through
a series of interventions sometimes protecting and sometimes undermining their
interests. These events have been summarized in Table 2 for the 1860тАУ1971
It is evident from the series of events that the displacement of 100 000 tribal
people due to the Kaptai dam was almost inevitable, as their control over the
region was gradually being curtailed, which culminated with the annulment of
the tribal area status of the CHT in 1964.
The issue of resettlement of the displaced people was handled poorly for a
number of reasons. There was a general lack of understanding of the tribal
culture by the government of Pakistan and the donor agencies (the dam was
202 S. Parveen & I. M. Faisal
funded by USAID). They thought that these were тАШnomadicтАЩ hill-people practising
jhum cultivation and it was unnecessary to design a permanent resettlement
programme for them. In reality, the tribal people did move from hill to hill but
they had a long cycle of jhum cultivation. Before the inundation of the Karnafuli
valley, the average cycle of jhum cultivation was 7тАУ10 years, and in some cases
10тАУ15 years. After inundation of the river valleys, which took away 40% of the
fertile agricultural land, this cycle became reduced to only 3тАУ5 years as thousands
of local people were forced back to jhum cultivation. This pressure on land
was further intensied by the rapid population growth that took place during
the 1960s and 1970s in the entire CHT area. The collective outcome of these
developments was intensive agriculture both in the remaining plain lands and
in the hills, leading to soil erosion, productivity loss and water pollution caused
by increased use of fertilizer and pesticides.
The other important reason for not having an adequate relocation scheme was
simply the lack of adequate budgetary provision. Initially, some compensation
was paid for the loss of land, trees and structures but there was little money
available for rehabilitating 100 000 people. The majority of them were taken to
the Kasalong valley, where a reserved forest was partly cleared to create land for
these people. When the water level of the reservoir rose after completion of the
dam in 1962, much of this land went underwater and the government simply
gave up all efforts to resettle these people again, thus contributing to the Bara
Interviews with the local people as well as senior government ofcials indicate
several inadequacies of the resettlement programme. The government could not
keep its promise to compensate for the lost arable land with similar land
elsewhere. First, not enough arable land was available in the region; each family
was given a maximum of 10 acres (4 ha) of land even though they owned more
land in the project area. Secondly, fertile land in the river valley was compensated
by hilly lands, which was of no immediate use to the people, who had got
accustomed to the plain land farming introduced in the CHT by the British from
the early 20th century. Thirdly, when monetary compensation was made, it was
too small: for example, the displaced people received only Taka 500тАУ700 per
hectare as compensation whereas they had to pay Taka 5000 per hectare to buy
similar arable plain land in other areas where some of them eventually settled
(Chakma et al., 1995).
The government of Pakistan had made a rather late attempt in 1968тАУ69 to
rehabilitate some 11 000 families in 51 moujas surrounding the lake.2 A total of
66 000 ha of land was allocated for this purpose. As per the plan, each family
received on average 2.4 ha of land for growing fruits, in addition to fruit
saplings, fertilizer and pesticides. Extension ofcers arranged training in horticulture
and initially the resettled people participated in the programme enthusiastically.
Unfortunately, the plan did not work well in the end because little or
no attention was paid to the storage and marketing aspects of the produce.
People grew mango, jackfruit, pineapple and lemon but did not receive a fair
price for the products. In fact they fell prey to exploitation by the middlemen.
Moreover, over the years the productivity of the land has fallen signicantly,
rendering the programme less effective now.
The large-scale displacement of the tribal people cau

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So, this is how India is building the Tipaimukh Dam ignoring  damage to Bangladeshi people. They are right??? And you are working to justify this!!!

What a 'Mir-Jafar' you are, Mr. Manik?

'Desher Kotha Bolay'
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