Jordan and Israel will soon start talks on coordinating wintertime water-sharing, while reviewing the concerned bilateral agreement, a Jordanian official said on Monday.
The two sides will review the summer program, according to which Jordan receives an additional 25 million cubic meters (mcm) of drinking water from Lake Tiberias, Thafer Alem, secretary general of the Jordan Valley Authority, told the Jordan Times.
“We have only consumed 18 mcm of summer water so far,” said Alem.
A contingency program of 25mcm, which starts on May 15 and ends October 15 each year, was agreed upon between Jordan and Israel until Israel can supply the kingdom with the full 50mcm of additional water stipulated in the 1994 peace treaty.
Alem said Jordan would highlight in the meetings the kingdom's right to receive the full 50mcm, and would discuss plans to set up a desalination plant through which Israel should be able to supply Jordan with its full share. The plant would be set up in Al Baqoura.
He said the two sides were currently seeking sponsors for the plant.
But Israel also agreed, as one of the terms of a 1997 interim agreement, that it would be responsible for building the plant, which would distill fresh water from saline springs around Lake Tiberias, said Alem.
Concluded in May 1997, the interim agreement calls for Israel to supply Jordan with 50 mcm from sources that were not determined, but most likely will be supplied through desalination, according to Alem.
The peace treaty stipulates that Israel is to supply Jordan with an additional water source that has yet to be found. The issue is at the core of the water controversy between the two sides.
Jordan contends that the interim agreement has no time limit and stipulates that Israel has to provide this 25mcm of water until it supplies the additional 50mcm.
Israel's standpoint is that the supply of the 25mcm was limited to a three-year period, which according to Tel Aviv ended in May 2000.
The agreement says that Israel should supply Jordan with 25mcm for three years, until it sets up the desalination plant. To date, however, Jordan continues to receive the additional water from Israel and the plant has not been built.
Alem said such a desalination plant would supply the kingdom with the full 50mcm.
In the winter, Jordan receives around 20mcm from Israel, according to Alem – Albawaba.com
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