Trilateral Water Agreement Signed

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority signed a memorandum of understanding in Washington, D.C. on Monday for trilateral cooperation on regional water use, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The signatories will undertake three water-sharing initiatives over the next few months, Alexander McPhail, the lead water and sanitation specialist in the World Bank’s Water Practice division, said on Monday afternoon.

One deal is a kind of swap. The development of a desalination plant near Aqaba, where the water produced will be shared between Israel and Jordan. In return, Israel agrees to  increase the annual releases of water from Lake Kinneret to Jordan.

Regarding the Palestinians, Israel’s national water corporation, Mekorot, will increase its water sales by 20 million cubic meters annually, McPhail explained, though a price remains to be negotiated.

Mekorot is obliged by the Oslo Accords to supply the PA with 31 million cubic meters of water per year, but actually supplies about 52 million cubic meters, according to Water Authority data.

As a pilot test program, about 100 million cubic meters worth of brine from the new Aqaba desalination plant will be conveyed through a 200-kilometer pipeline to the Dead Sea, in Jordan’s territory, McPhail said. A team of scientists will study the results.