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Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law

Water in the Middle East: Legal, Political and Commercial Implications

Introduction by J.A. Allan and Chibli Mallat

I. The Setting

Water is a vital resource in all economies. In those societies which have to be managed in arid environments where indigenous water is limited, the challenges are particular. Middle Eastern countries need in the middle of the last decade of the century twice as much water as is currently available. By 2025 it is possible that they will need four times as much as is available in indigenous natural resources. Water is used in all economic and in many municipal and domestic activities. The production of food is the most water-intensive economic use, requiring about 1000 cubic metres per year per person. Domestic and municipal uses can be met with about 100 cubic metres per person per year. Drinking requirements run at about one cubic metre per person per year. Only Turkey and the Lebanon amongst Middle Eastern countries have the water resources to meet current and all future water needs including those of agriculture. All other countries, including some of the major economics such as Egypt and Israel, need more than twice as much water as currently available to them in surface flows and renewable groundwater.

II. The Political Context

The political context in which water is evaluated and managed is changing rapidly, particularly since 1990 with the shift in global politics which followed the collapse of the former Soviet Union. In the region the commencement of the Peace Talks in the summer of 1992 has also significantly accelerated the pace at which new approaches and new ideas can be placed on agendas for national and international debate.

The region was always a dynamic one with respect to renewable natural resources because demographic trends led to progressively higher demands for water required for domestic, industrial and food production needs which have doubled in 30 years. The implications for infrastructure spending were always clear and the governments of the region responded predictably by investing in measures to increase the Supply of new water. They were successful in this until the early 1970s. Despite the implicit tension in the water deficits of the countries of the region, which many predicted would be decisively destabilizing, the region has not faced tension over water since 1970 because water proved to he otherwise available in the world market for food staples. The region learned in a very practical way that it was possible to substitute for water and the leaders of the region have over a period of two or three decades begun to adjust their water allocation and management policies to achieve effective use of their water resources which fortunately are more than adequate for their domestic and industrial needs. At the same time it would be circumspect if the same leaders reviewed the future international position with respect to the continued availability of affordable food staples upon which the Middle East's continued political stability depends.

III. Providing Water for the Region

The Middle East has undergone some very important transitions in the last quarter of the twentieth century with respect to water. The region as a whole and some key economies moved from positions where they had sufficient water. for all tlicir economic needs to being in deficit. Until the end of the 1960s it was possible in the region to increase the supply of water to meet new local and national needs. By the early 1970s these supply management options ceased to be available and for the next two decades all the economies of the region, except that of Turkey, met their. new major water needs by importing water in food. Desalination of water was a means of meeting some minor volumes needed for domestic and drinking water, although such practices were only economic options for the Gulf oil economies with surplus energy or energy that would otherwise have been flared and wasted. Desalination provides expensive water as the process is energy intensive and while the real cost of desalinating sea water his been falling – reaching between one and two US dollars per cubic metre by 1995 or less than half the cost a decade earlier - such water will never be a serious economic option for agricultural use in irrigation.

Fortunately the food and water gaps which developed since the 1960s have not destabilized the national economies of the region as food staples have been available in quantity and at low prices on the world market for many decades as a result of the agricultural policies of the industrialized economics of Europe and North America. The water combined in these heavily subsidized products is effectively free at the point of production and the process of crop growth very efficiently reduces the bulk of the product and concentrates over 5000 tonnes of inputs per hectare to a mere five tonnes of exportable grain output. The water-deficient economies of the Middle East have a very economically sound means of access to very large volumes of "virtual" water by means of world trade. The governments of Middle Eastern countries have been able to ensure the entitlement of food to their peoples by engaging in world trade which has proved to be a reliable and generally stable system.

IV. Water in the Regional and Global Economies

Water is a crucial resource but few in the region have grasped the relative importance of water in the provision of livelihoods. There is a tendency to regard water as of equal significance in all the sectors of a national economy. In practice, water has the capacity to provide very different livelihoods in terms of the quantity used to sustain them. Some livelihoods have few water demands. An extreme example would be an administrative entity of local or national government. Similarly educational institutions have few water demands. Some industries are water intensive, such as the processes associated with paper production, and some chemical and metallurgical industries use high volumes of water per day, per ton of product as well as in relation to the value of outputs. An extreme example in the Middle East of an economy which gives a very high return to water through emphasizing those activities which use small volumes of water in terms of the number of' livelihoods generated is that of Israel; 97 per cent of the Israeli economy is based on only about five per cent of national water use. In neighbouring Jordan 93 per cent of the economy is based on only about 20 per cent of national water; in Egypt over 80 per cent of the national economy is based on less than ten per cent of the water available in the economy.

Despite the emotional and rhetorical energy expended on advocating the importance of water in agriculture and the social value of rural livelihoods, the economies of the region have already shifted to, or are shifting rapidly towards, a predominance of industry in their economies. One of them, that of Israel, has begun to move water out of agriculture and since 1986 has reduced the use of water used for irrigation from 1.6 million cubic metres per year to 1.2 million cubic metres per year, a reduction of 25 per cent and a substantial proportion of the 65 per cent reduction announced by the Israeli Water Commissioner in early 1991 (Voice of Israel, 1991). Meanwhile the proportion of re-used urban waste water in irrigated farming has been increasing steadily so that by 1994 it had reached a level of about 21 per cent of total Israeli irrigation water.

The patterns of use being implemented by Israel are those which have been identified by the World Bank and other agencies as basic to the water future of the countries of the region. Other scientists from outside the region have also emphasized the importance of returns to water and in addition to those from Israel there are those in the region, from Palestine and Egypt, who have embraced this important economic principle.

Meanwhile, because Middle Eastern economies are so dependent on global trade in food staples to meet their real water needs, the other essential matter which has to be grasped by those allocating and managing water in the region is that the political economy of water in the Middle East is subordinate to the political economy of global trade in food staples. The immediate and long term stability of the region depends on the capacity of the world food production and trading systems to provide sufficient staple foods at prices affordable by the poorest economies that have inadequate water resources.

V. Water and the Environment

Renewable surface and groundwaters are normally the first natural resources to be driven to a point where it is recognized that the available environmental capital is not sufficient to meet the increasing demands of the economics of which they are a part. Even more frequent than problems with volume are those that concern water quality. In the Middle East some of the worst quality water is found in the territory of Gaza where overpumping and the contamination by rural and urban sources has made most of the aquifers unusable although they are still being pumped.

The challenge which has to be faced is the reversal of the degradation of volume and quality and while there are examples such as that of Gaza, which suggest that the problem may be intractable, there are examples where environmental legislation has been put in place and impressive economies in water-using practices achieved. Israel has reduced its water use in agriculture by 25 per cent which was almost precisely the amount of water estimated to be the level of annual overuse. The economic and social consequences of such changes are difficult to accommodate in poor economics where rural livelihoods are numerous, traditional and highly valued by rural communities and by their relatives recently settled in urban centres who care about the families whom they have left behind. Disengaging rural communities from their traditional livelihoods on the basis of rational economic arguments has met with little enthusiasm amongst political leaderships, not least because such leaders are usually themselves part of families involved in farming.

Concern with the environment and the importance of intergenerational resource transfers are issues which become more important with each year and it is inevitable that principles of sustainable renewable natural resource management will he sought by Governments and international agencies. Regulation of the environment will figure increasingly in national and more importantly in international policies and especially in the management of surface and groundwaters. Evidence of this is in the agendas of the Peace Talks, where the environment is one of the four prime issues requiring agreement. Meanwhile it behoves those concerned with the international water law as applies in the region to develop as rapidly as possible operational procedures enabling national entities to manage their resources according to recognized legal principles together with soundly based and sustainable agreements. Integral to such principles will be the economics of water, and economic analysis and economic instruments such as water markets will become even more important than law in facilitating the optimal use of water with respect to the maximization of welfare and the security of environmental capital. The long section devoted to laww in this book has provided an attempt to open up the debate in this field. Diverse as these contributions are, they all recognize the importance of a search for parameters of distribution and which should come, sooner rather than later, under the wide umbrella of "the rule of law".

VI. The Diversity of the Rule of Law

The search for "legal" rules to regulate water in the Middle East is not new. Nor is there need to restate the potential conflicts carried by the struggle over water inside one country or across regonal borders in the absence of appropriate legal channels and adequate rules. The scarcer the resource, the larger the demaind, and the more emotional the attitude of individuals and governments towards any scheme that appears to change the status quo. That the status quo is unsustainable may be evident to all, yet, and in so far as change or reform appears on the agenda, minds and hearts are inevitably mobilized for a difficult transition.

How the transition can be made least painfully is the key question. The issue revolves over two central points which may appear simplistic, but are far from being defined with any precision in the Middle East. Indeed the first point, which is the portrayal of the situation of water at present, curiously appears in more elusive terms than the point of arrival, that is the alternative which is being conceived. The patterns of water uses in the Middle East are not well known, and this may be less surprising when the production of law is itself poorly grasped inside each jurisdiction. Some experience with the literature available on the subject, even in vernacular languages, suffices to show that legal systems operate, more often than not. in mysterious and approxiniative manners. To date, there is no satisfactory depiction of the legal system in Saudi Arabia, where law reporting is non-existent and where the Official Gazette does not offer an inkling of what the legal process means in this key country. Saudi Arabia is not an exception: where is it possible to find accurate, up-to-date information on a particular point of law in Qatar, or in Oman. The writ of courts is not always recognized, and some systems such as the one prevailing in Iraq for the past three decades have even produced the concept of "a secret decree", by which citizens are regulated even if they cannot know of it. Even in countries where law was not long ago the pride of the system, as in Egypt, the overburdening of courts, the short-circuiting of the judges' independence by means of emergency rules and tribunals, and the lack of Support in terms of legal education and law reporting, make it not a difficult task for the legal specialist, let alone the lay person, to identify the rule of law.

Thus, if the legal system as a whole remains patchy including in terms of the channels of decision and separation of powers at the top of the bureaucratic hierarchy, the ascertaining of water rights at both the level of the individual citizen and at the level of decision-making is a thicket which needs to be carefully appreciated before any reform can be undertaken. Failure is otherwise ensured. Failure will come from trampling over existing rights which regulate whatever proportion of the decreasing but real water distribution. It will also come from lack of appreciation of the effective process of decision inside the legal system, at the top and at the bottom. Divesting middle bureaucrats of their powers will turn them into implacable enemies, unless the existing process is carefully analysed and some serious and open debate is carried out. Experience with change in the Middle East shows that a person who ultimately loses out will be less grudging if he or she has publically vented his arguments. That open debate is also crucial for water reform.

Whatever master plans there may be, and they are all too numerous, a formidable mobilization is necessary financially and legally to carry the process through. This mobilization is part of the problem, and may be more important than the goal itself, however clearly defined.

"Il n'y a pas de voie royale pour la science". Only through a careful stocktaking of the present situation of water and water studies in the Middle East, can a thoughtful transition be articulated. Indeed, as a recent book attempting a comprehensive analysis on water in the Maghreb has shown, there is a profound legacy which successive governments in the region, including the colonial masters, have had to contend with: "To confront the food challenge, the Maghreb has a very real technical and social legacy. This legacy was often minimized during the colonial period, and sometimes overestimated since. Mostly, this know-how has in the main lapsed. By revisiting it, one discovers the exceptional contribution of Andalusian farmers, who have played a major role in the first agricultural revolution: by borrowing from the Orient - from the fertile crescent to the Iranian plateau - plants, techniques of farming and of irrigation, they have created in the south of Spain and in North Africa islands of intensification which were noted by the Arab travellers of the Middle Ages. Rome had also left its mark, but rather in the large scale urban works. The fruit of this dual influence can be seen in all the medinas, which were made pleasant by fountains and basins, and were surrounded by gardens and orchards which still charm us" (Perennes, L'Eau et des Hommes au Maghreb, 1993).

There is a long list in the Maghreb of perennial water institutions: "In this rich legacy, many elements have reached us: when studying the meskats of central Tunisia and the jessour of the Tunisian south, the systems of conservation of rainwater, and by deciphering the procedures for the distribution of the overflow in the highlands and the marks of the qanats which bathe the palmtrees of Marrakech, one can only admire the adaptation of these techniques to the physical milieu. The diversity of hydraulic techniques is astounding, and rich like the variety of the land." Worthy of note is the conclusion Perennes draws: "More astounding yet are the social constructions that were occasioned by these hydraulic systems. So much, writes Berques, that the work on the milieu appears 'only as a pretext to the magnificent virtuosity'. The more arid the zone the more subtle the rules to share water cycles. This refined art of managing scarcity does not mean that society operates in an egalitarian manner. Most often, water is 'the friend of the rich', and in order to be protected from the abusive behaviour of the prince, the fellah is forced to hide behind the zaouia. This is why 'water in these regions tells the story of society' (G. Bedoucha-Albergoni), and its modes of being shared are still today a real document on social order".

This and other studies in various parts of the Middle East point up the basic elements essential for an effective transition: against the challenge of scarcity, is needed an appreciation of layers of a technical legacy which have survived unevenly, of the diversity of hydraulic techniques, as well as an understanding of social responses of great ingenuity (despite its bias towards the rich man, who is the water's first friend). Though explicated in the Maghreb in this and others' works (e.g. Pascon, 1982), it is no less true for the other countries of the Middle East. Qanats in Iran and sequins across the Middle East, spate irrigation in the Yemen, dawras, nawbas and other time measurements in Nilotic Egypt and elsewhere, sometimes in extreme detail, the special regimes of oases (Hammoudi, 1985), Moroccan (Colin, 1932), and even - in a historical concept of an Islamic Middle East - Andalusian norias (Glick, 1970), all these peculiar systems, which survive unevenly, are testimony to the delicate balance needed for the transition. It is against these variegated and complex images of social distribution of water that grand hydraulic projects need to be assessed. Grand hydraulic projects are indeed the other staple of a more recent but no less important legacy for the transition.

Nor is the picture clearer in this register, despite a late twentieth century reversal of the concept of the welfare state and some loss of faith in grandiose projects. Criticism should not detract us from the importance of some of these achievements. The Aswan dam in Egypt is a case in point, where the possibility of controlling the flow of the river in times of exceptional dryness has proved decisive for the maintenance of touristic navigation and its consequent benefits for hard currency in a fledgling economy.

VII. Valuing Water

The most rapid shifts in awareness and perception in the area of water have occurred with respect to its value. Work by economists had always shown that it was important to use scarce resources in activities that brought a favourable return. The principle applies to labour and land resources although it has been most strictly calculated with respect to capital resources. As water has been an abundant resource used in small quantities for drinking and in modest quantities for pre-industrial style domestic use, it was natural to regard water as freely available and water itself to have no economic value. Such perceptions have proved to be very unhelpful in arid countries where water is both limited in supply and where the use of water for irrigation has increased dramatically since the middle of the twentieth century. They have proved to be economically and environmentally damaging when they are the basis of assumptions that the large volumes of water involved in irrigated agriculture will be mobilized at zero or negligible cost. That agriculture appears to be a strategic industry of central importance to national security reinforces the political pressures on those allocating and managing water, as do the articulated interests of influential elements of the political elites of countries which own potentially productive resources which require water to materialize profitable production. The alliance between such interests and those of manufacturers of irritation technology, both of' which are blind to the impairment of environmental capital brought on by the overuse of surface and groundwaters, exacerbates any susceptibility to degradation of water supply or water quality.

One of the problems in identifying a value for water is that water is available in a wide variety of supply circumstances. In these different circumstances water is delivered at very different costs, it commands very different prices and the institutions and legal regimes in which it is made available are also very different. Bottled water available in a shop or supermarket is very different from the water delivered to a field to irrigate a crop and, while it would be hard to argue that waters as extremely different in their functions could be substituted one for the other, there are water supplies that could be allocated from one use which brings a low return to that which brings a high return. For example water used for irrigated farming which could be the basis of a the livelihood of one family and say US$ 2000 of gross return could alternatively provide the domestic water of 20 families or 10 livelihoods in a non-agricultural use. The use of water in activities which are more water effective is known as allocative efficiency and it is this principle which underlies the increasing emphasis being given to a realistic valuation of water in the individual economics of the region. Markets in water both within national economies and at the international level are being advocated widely as appropriate instruments for the promotion of allocative efficiency. And to the extent that an economy is sufficiently robust and flexible to cope with water valued and sold at levels which reflect costs of delivery and even more important its real (shadow) value in the economy then it will be possible to shift water pricing policy. Where an economy is not robust, competent or flexible it will not be possible to implement "ideal" economic policies with respect to water. The contrast between the options available to the newly autonomous Gaza and those to neighbouring industrialized Israel exemplary the difficulties of' implementing policies based on market principles. Water at US$ 1.2 per cubic metre is acceptable to domestic users in Israel and agricultural water at the sub-economic level of 25 cents per cubic metre was being assimilated in 1994. Such water charges are not acceptable in an economy where the GDP per head is an order of magnitude so different as in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Nevertheless whether water is privately or publicly distributed, and it is probable that public institutions will predominate for a substantial period in the Middle East, officials and users will be increasingly involved in understanding the economics of water and in implementing systems which promote its efficient utilisation.

VIII. Reforming Water

Lawyers will be increasingly involved in devising procedures and regulatory frameworks which facilitate the supervision of water use and provide instruments which encourage environmentally sustainable, economically effective and safe utilization with appropriate signals, instrumentation and penalties. Lawyers will be particularly helpful in clarifying the nature of the legal regime - public or private - most appropriate to the national entity to which the additional procedures to achieve improvements in the efficiency of water allocation and use. New systems are inure likely to be adopted swiftly where antecedent systems are given consideration in the devising of new practice. The development of such practice will be a domain in which law plays its most useful role with respect to water and in such matters law will he much more significant than in the sphere of international law where expectations have been raised that universal principles could be identified and applied.

The domestic legacy in the Maghreb has been noted: "a legacy mostly fractured, in the image of these collapsed, foggara of the Touat and the jessour of Matinata that are not sustained through a lack of available woi-kforce. How can one therefore ignore the seduction which the legacy continues to enjoy, if not for the past social cohesion that it brings back to life. This perhaps is what the Maghreb needs most" (Perennes) In the chapters in this book on Morocco and Lebanon (Zirari-Devif, H. Mallat), this domestic legacy is also addressed from the point of view of its acknowledgement by law, and constitutes the inevitable departing point for the balance sought by the necessary reforms. The process of cohesion is crucial for the identification of the overall channels of change which would be most adequate for the difficult choices ahead, whether in whole sectorial shifts or whether in admitting, with due reference to a tradition of Islamic and Middle Eastern law which knew all too well the financial value of water, that the language of law reform deserves also to he attentive to the vernacular and sometimes century-old traditions (C. Mallat).

In this, the efforts of international lawyers seem redundant, but the general principles which increasingly form part of the law of international watercourses are not necessarily at odds with local preoccupations. Witness the convergence between "the acquired rights" of the domestic legal tradition - whether in Islamic or secular terms and the lengthy debates in the International Law Commission on the balance of factors whenever new projects are to be assessed (Krishna). Nor is the World Bank's concern not to cause appreciable harm understandable without the context of the acquired rights' individual riparian states may have. The several chapters in this book dealing with the emerging rules of international water law carry a true if not necessarily conclusive debate, whether in general terms (Dellapenna, Shapland) or in its more Middle Eastern incidence (Khassawneh, Chalabi and Majzoub). The importance accorded in Egypt to its "natural and historic rights" over the Nile is not voiced in vain by its Chief Justice in this book (Morr), nor is the Ethiopian view to be dismissed by a sleight-of-hand (Tamrat). In that, some convergence between domestic law and international law, at least at the level of a common language of "equity", would not be amiss. The value of the comparative exercise as conducted in the chapters by Alan Boyie and Francois du Bois is the more enriching in this comparative and historical context.

This is also where the dual role of law finds its place. In this book, the reader will find several studies on various aspects of law, some clearly with a perspective on the international and comparative scene on which the Middle East must inevitably draw, others with a focus on a more particular theme or country. Reform will find its wording more accurate and more appealing on the receiving end where the transition may be hardest if the debate informing reform has been carried out with those comparative and historical perspectives in mind. This also requires a decided mental shift towards economic efficiency and the acknowledgement of water, first and foremost, as an economic, albeit special, good.

IX. Water as a Commodity

Water is gradually becoming a commodity rather than a freely available and poorly regulated element in the economies of the Middle East. The period since 1990 has been one in which the development of this idea has been extremely rapid and the consequences are apparent in diverse circumstances. The abandonment of the irrigation of wheat crops in Saudi Arabia in 1994, the attempts to raise the water charges to farmers in Israel, the notion of selling Israeli re-used waste water to Gaza, the intrusion of the concept of valuing water in the Peace Talks since 1992, the reluctance of the Libyan authorities to allocate the expensive Great Man-Made River water to irrigation schemes are all examples of the application of economic principles to water in a region where they had in the past been given minimal consideration. Thus the immense importance of the section of this book on commercial implications by practitioners in the field of engineering and management (Section V, chapters by Schiftler, Storer, Kinnersley, Welbank and Keary).

The reference price to which it will be normal to make comparisons will be that of the only new water which is technologically accessible, namely desalinated water. The delivered cost of such water varies according to the level of salinity of the water processed, the costs of energy available in the economy and the scale of the plant. The energy rich Gulf countries have significant comparative advantages over the energy poor Israel, Palestine and Jordan. Despite some optimistic claims that plants can be operated to produce desalinated water at under one US$ per cubic metre, it appears to be more realistic to cost such water at between US$ 1.5 to 2.5 per cubic metre. No agriculture can sustain the costs of such expensive water but such costs will be readily absorbed by an oil rich or an industrialized economy and such charges will become commonplace in all countries of the region for domestic and industrial water.

X. Future Technical and Institutional Development for Effective Water Allocation and Management

The chapters which follow indicate that there will be a rapid development of- ideas, policy and practice in the allocation and management of water in the region in the next decade. The emphasis in engineering will be on systems which moderate demand in all sectors. These will reduce water use by changing to more water-efficient ones as well is by installing meters which will enable regulation and the introduction of water markets. Water re-use systems, especially of urban waste water, will be widely developed and there will be considerable engineering challenges in delivering water from new supply locations at the edge of urban centres to farming areas which may not be ideally situated in terms of the costs of transportation with respect to elevation or position. The levels of investment implied by the comprehensive reorganization of national systems to practise first use in the urban domestic sector and subsequent use in irrigated farming, as is envisaged in Israel, are potentially massive. It could be that they will outstrip those of previous and current decades when high dams and water carriers have been constructed. The commercial opportunities in consulting and construction are immense.

They will be no less in the area of capacity building and institutional development. New laws, new regulatory bodies and new bureaucracies will be required to ensure that the engineering works and distribution systems are effective. These institutions will also be expensive to install. They are already expensive to run, and the domestic contributions to be found in this book are only departing points for a work on each jurisdiction which needs to be carried out on a microeconomic level and on the level of state management. In "microeconomic law", the question is about the rights of the citizen to water as protected by courts and statutes in the real world, and comprehensive stlidies like the one of Matar on Lebanon (Matar, 1992; H. Mallat in this book) are yet to he carried out in the rest of the region. Lawyers will also need to explain who decides and to what extent, if any, the decision involves liability if it proves wrong. All these necessary studies, which this book and the growing literature both in terms of quantity and quality have addressed, will tax the investment capacity of all the countries of the region and will generate a strong demand for expertise in everything from data gathering and management to the creation of accounting systems which will enable water authorities and utilities to be economically viable.

At the international level there is likely to be rapid development of institutions which provide the means for national entities to interact over issues of water allocation and in due course over trade in water. Such concepts are sufficiently unfamiliar that it is impossible to predict when such new institutions will emerge, but the way in which relations are developing between Jordan and Israel and between Israeli and Palestinian scientists indicates that preliminary structures could be considered soon. Meanwhile Israel has agreed in the September 1994 Agreement with Jordan to provide water for Jordan on occasions of extreme drought.

XI. Water and Cooperation

Water has been regarded as a potential source of conflict in the region and so it would have been if the governments of Middle East states had insisted on observing their food self-sufficiency policies to the point that they had refused to import food. As indicated above, those managing Middle Eastern economies have in practice traded rationally and have gained access to verv cheap water via international trade in food. With the massive volumes of water being so readily available to meet the needs of the rapidly rising populations it has been possible to provide water for essential domestic, municipal and industrial needs and such provision will also be possible for the foreseeable future.

In these unpressured circumstances it will become increasingly possible to cooperate over access to water and over the allocation and the reallocation of' water. The process is already beginning with informal talks over the joint management for the shared aquifers of the West Bank/Mountaiti Aquifers where Israel has a long term interest in influencing the management regime of these important groundwater bodies in the karst geology of the West Bank. The agreement of Jordan and Israel to utilize what is effectively new water made available by the desalination of the saline water from the springs to the west of Lake Tiberias/Kinneret and the building of structures on the Yarmouk which will store and therefore mobilize some new water are examples of how cooperation can be achieved to the mutual advantage of both parties.

The rapid pace of change in the perceptions of those involved in water policy and management is the feature of the current position which is emphasized in the chapters in this study. It is unusual for ideas and institutional development to be advancing at a pace which is faster than evolving technology but, with the exception of computing technology, this is the case in the Middle East with respect to water. Five years is proving to be a long time in the history of the international relations and of the national and international institutions which address water allocation and management. Economic principles, precautionary approaches to the use of environmental capital and the recognition of appropriate legal frameworks, all addressed in the following chapters, will be implemented once agreements made according to political expediency have been reached. All of them are being given much more attention than at any time in the past and they will be very significant factors in the development of national and international practice concerning water in the coming decade.