Sunday, January 23, 2011

Water pacts 'could bring Mideast peace'

UPI: Water scarcity in the Middle East can be the catalyst for reducing, rather than causing, conflict in the volatile region, a Beirut think tank says in a report that urges a major "paradigm shift" in how regional states view the problem of dwindling water resources.

The report entitled "The Blue Peace: Rethinking Middle East Water," issued by the Carnegie Middle East Center, suggests that a radical "paradigm shift" is needed to change how these states view the political and environmental issues at the core of the water crisis, a region-wide approach rather than the piecemeal, largely bilateral, efforts made so far that have achieve almost nothing.

"It is possible … to anticipate conflict between countries due to disagreements over shared water resources," the report observed. "Indeed conventional thinking about water in the Middle East tends to be pessimistic and alarmist.

"The challenge is to rethink water in the Middle East, to treat it as an opportunity for peace and development," the Carnegie Middle East Center declared. The report focuses primarily on Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Turkey, a choice "governed by the potential of opportunities to rethink water."

The purpose is to develop "a common political framework for the future, for sustainable management of water resources across several basins and not a negotiating platform for dividing water resources in any individual basin or aquifer." The report, released Thursday in Beirut, envisions these states establishing a monitoring system through which they can collaborate and determine a more equitable sharing of water resources in the region….

Solomon's Pools and ancient aqueducts, near Jerusalem. Inflow of Wadi el-Biyar aqueduct into the upper pool, between 1934 and 1939

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