Published in partnership with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Regional Program Energy Security and Climate Change Middle East and North Africa (KAS – REMENA).

full report available at

extract from the forward:

A combination of regional conflict, natural water scarcity, over extraction and now climate change has contributed to the severe demise of much of the basin. From a water diversion perspective, Israel has taken roughly half the historical flow of the Jordan River, while Syria and Jordan have taken roughly the other half. Lebanon in the very north and Palestine in the south of the basin have been prevented from accessing their fair share of the rivers’ water. The Dead Sea ecosystem is paying the price of not only the
upstream water diversion, but also from mineral extraction in the south carried out by the Dead Sea Works on the Israeli side and the Arab Potash Company on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea. Palestinians who are riparian to the Dead Sea on the north-west side are completely denied any access including both mineral extraction and tourism.

In nature everything is interconnected. The over-extraction of fresh water has turned the once ‘mighty Jordan’ into little more than a sewage canal. At the Dead Sea over 6000 sinkholes have opened up, threatening the very viability of further human activity around its shores and representing in the eyes of EcoPeace ‘nature’s revenge’.

The authors of this paper, Dr. Bookman et al., have undertaken desk study research from a purely scientific perspective. They highlighted the potential impacts on the Dead Sea’s physical, chemical and biological composition of treated wastewater inflow. The recommendations of the authors recognize the need for further data collection, research and analysis through experimentation, piloting and modeling.

For the rehabilitation of the Lower Jordan River, in 2015 EcoPeace Middle East completed a regional integrated development master plan for the Jordan Valley. The master plan envisions that the Jordan River from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea will be rehabilitated through the utilization of the river as a multi-use and multi-purpose water body. The master plan proposes that all sides utilize the river itself as the natural water carrier, instead of diversion of its waters upstream, into national water carriers.
In parallel with the investments needed to remove all pollutants, the master plan, over time, envisions two thirds of the river carrying high quality water that can be purified to meet multi purpose needs including domestic water needs. After serving domestic needs, the lower stretches of the Jordan can be fed with higher salinity water, captured and diverted from upstream sources, with water quality still adequate for agricultural purposes. Large quantities of treated wastewater would then feed the river for its final stretch south of the baptism site and flow into the Dead Sea for the purpose of contributing towards partial Dead Sea stabilization.

Following exceptionally good winter rainfalls in 2019 and 2020, the Sea of Galilee is for the first time in 30 years at full capacity. With the reversal of the Israeli national water carrier enabling desalinated water soon to flow into the Sea of Galilee, high water levels of the Sea of Galilee can be maintained. EcoPeace therefore calls on the Government of Israel, as a first step, to increase water flow from 9 mcm to 30 mcm as it had previously
committed to executing in 2014, much due to EcoPeace advocacy efforts.

The significance of the current desk study on the feasibility of treated wastewater, as a water source for the last stretch of the Jordan and to then flow into the Dead Sea, is that it contributes to a holistic concept of basin wide rehabilitation. …