the media release on FoEME Jordan River reports


Two new reports released today identify the amount of water needed to rehabilitate the Jordan River and where the water must come from if we are to bring back to life one of the most famous rivers on earth.

EcoPeace / Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) calls on the Israeli and Jordanian governments and the Palestinian Authority to work together to return fresh water to the near dry Jordan River

Amman / Bethlehem / Tel Aviv, 3 May 2010

At an international conference held in Amman, Jordan, FoEME today released two new studies co-written by Jordanian, Israeli and Palestinian experts, identifying for the first time the ecological water needs of the Lower Jordan River and from where that water can come from.

Munqeth Mehyar, FoEME Jordanian Director states, “A new study we commissioned reveals that we have lost at least 50% of biodiversity in and around the river due to the near total diversion of fresh water and that some 400 million cubic meters (mcm) of water annually are urgently needed to be returned to the river to bring it back to life.”

The report entitled, ‘An environmental flows report on the rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River,’ calls on the governments of the region to work together towards the river’s rehabilitation as a concrete project of the Middle East peace process.

Nader Khateeb, FoEME Palestinian Director states, “The Israeli government who has diverted the largest share of the river’s waters has the responsibility to return some 220 mcm, the Jordanian government 90 mcm and Syria government 100 mcm respectively. As part of the Jordan River’s rehabilitation, Palestine , who has been denied any access to the river, needs to additionally receive a fair share of river waters as a riparian to the river.”

The second study released today has identified over a billion cubic meters of water that could be saved and made available from the water economies of Israel , Jordan and even Palestine for other purposes including fairer share and reviving the Lower Jordan River , if current poor water practices came to a stop.

Gidon Bromberg, FoEME Israeli Director states, “In the middle of the desert we continue to flush our toilets with fresh water rather then using grey water or even better – waterless toilets and we grow tropical fruits for export. We can do much better in reducing water loss and we need to treat and reuse all of the sewage water that we produce.”

Undertaken for the first time in the region, the second report, entitled ‘An economic analysis of policy options for water conservation in Jordan, Israel and Palestine’, released today adds up the water savings lost due to poor water supply and demand management practices in all our countries.

The two reports together reveal that rehabilitating the Jordan River is not only very desirable but economically feasible with the lion’s share of water savings being possible at prices lower than the cost of desalination.

For more information on the need to rehabilitate the Jordan River please call:

Mira Edelstein, Foreign Media Officer, Friends of the Earth Middle East, T +972 54 6392937, (spoken languages: English and Hebrew)

Munqeth Mehyar, Chairman and Jordanian Director of Friends of the Earth Middle East, T+962 6 5866602, (spoken languages: English and Arabic)

Nader Khateeb, Palestinian Director of Friends of the Earth Middle East, T +972 522875022, (spoken languages: English and Arabic)

Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director of Friends of the Earth Middle East, T +972 52 4532597, (spoken languages: English and Hebrew)

Baha Afaneh, Jordanian Jordan River Project Coordinator, Friends of the Earth Middle East, T+962 6 5866602, (spoken languages: English and Arabic)