“Water for Peace”: The Southern Jordan River Flows Again


UPDATES 7 pm Israel time Sunday:

*In what can only be described as a disaster for Lebanon, Hezbollah is dragging the country inexorably into the war with Syria. Syrian rebels fired grad rockets at southern Beirut this morning causing considerable damage and injuries.

Some of the wounded in Beirut today.

Some of the wounded in Beirut today.

Pitched battles have been raging all weekend in Tripoli and Sidon between pro-Assad Shi’ite forces supported by Hezbollah and Sunni militias opposed to Assad.

More rocket damage in Beirut today.

More rocket damage in Beirut today.

In the last week more than 100 Lebanese have been killed–and this does not count the number of Lebanese Hezbollah terrorists who have been killed outright within Syria itself.

*Meanwhile, Syria continues being flooded with mercenaries, and one needs a scorecard to keep track of who is fighting whom. One of the most recent reports details how an entire brigade of Chechen and Dagestani mercenaries is locked in fierce struggles against Hezbollah and Iranian fighters in the outskirts of Damascus.

TODAY’S BLOG:

With war and rumors of war swirling all around Israel and Jordan, it is interesting to see how these two countries have managed to cobble together a major “project for peace.”

For the last 50 years, the water trickling through the old river channel south of the Kineret (Sea of Galilee) has been little more than untreated wastewater and “spring water” from various sources.

Now, for the first time since 1964, water from the Jordan River is flowing south of the Kineret (Sea of Galilee). One thousand cubic feet of water per hour is being directed south by the Israel Water Authority in conjunction with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and its Jordanian counterpart.

The tap has been opened and the river is flowing again.

The tap has been opened and the river is flowing again.

The objective of resupplying the the river channel with fresh water is twofold:

1. from a natural standpoint, the idea is simply to increase biodiversity in the area and provide increased water habitat for endangered species

2. from a “human” perspective, the idea is to increase water to people living in the area and to farmers who badly need water for irrigating their crops 

Within two years, Israel and Jordan hope to have 30 million cubic feet of water per year streaming south. During the same two years, a sewage treatment plant will be built to handle the wastewater. The total length of the channel being watered is about 30 km.

For once there seems to be no debate among Jordanians and Israelis about the importance of the project. 

Ramon Ben Ari, who is charge of the Southern Jordan Drainage Authority said that “the purpose of the project is to foster and restore a range of ecological habitats, springs, natural areas, conservation agriculture as the basis for a major economic space, while recognizing the legitimacy of mutual and life together as a fundamental value and leveraging peace.”

As far as your humble servant is concerned, this “water for peace” project is a positive development. During the summer, I will visit this area and post pictures on this blog. Stay tuned. 

*israelstreet acknowledges Walla.com for elements of today’s blog.

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