"Expanding the Pie" in the Jordan River Basin: Multiple-Issue Water Negotiations

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Mar 04, 2016
Jacob Petersen-Perlman

The Jordan River Basin continuously suffers from water scarcity, droughts and overuse. In particular, the Jordan Basin has problems with waste, overuse, and a surge of demand brought forth by refugees from neighboring countries. At the Jordan River’s terminus, the Dead Sea is shrinking by 1m in elevation each year. In an attempt to solve these chronic scarcity issues, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority have signed an agreement that paves the way for the Red Sea-Dead Sea water conveyer project that involves the construction of a desalination plant in Aqaba, Jordan, which will desalinate 800-1,000 million cubic meters (mcm) per year. The desalinated water will be shared between Israel and Jordan, and the brine left over will be pumped into the Dead Sea through a pipeline and a canal. In addition, Jordan will purchase about 50 mcm of water from Israel from the Sea of Galilee to provide water to its northern cities. The Palestinian Authority, though initially part of the negotiation process, will not receive water from the conveyer project. Students review environmental data and practice negotiation skills through a simulated bargaining session based on the Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian negotiations. Students will also practice different negotiation skills through multiple techniques.

Estimated time frame: 
Multiple class periods
SES learning goals: 
  • Understand the structure and behavior of socio-environmental systems
  • Consider the importance of scale and context in addressing socio-environmental problems
  • Co-develop research questions and conceptual models in inter- or trans-disciplinary teams
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