December 28, 2008 – Side Event at Euro Med Water Conference

EcoPeace calls on Mediterranean Water Ministers meeting in Jordan to help the public manage water more wisely rather than looking for the energy intensive solutions of desalination.

On the occasion of the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Water.December 21-22, 2008 Dead Sea, Jordan

December, 21st, 2008
Amman, Tel-Aviv and Bethlehem

As the three great religions celebrate their festivals of Eid el-Adha, Chanukah and Christmas, a major international conference is being held in Jordan in an effort to resolve the grave water problems facing the Euro-Mediterranean region. EcoPeace Middle East is calling on water ministers to support low tech solutions that promote wise water use and is highlighting the dire condition of the Lower Jordan River, holy to all three religions, as an example of what the mismanagement of water resources has led to.

EcoPeace is a unique, regional environmental organisation that brings together Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian environmentalists working together on shared cross-boundary water issues.

“The draft statements of the water ministers speak to the need to increase water supplies mostly through desalination of sea water or canal projects such as the Red Dead Conduit. Desalination is highly energy intensive leading to more greenhouse gas emissions which in turn only lead to less water,” says Gidon Bromberg the Israeli Director of EcoPeace Middle East.

Munqeth Mehyar, Chairman and Jordanian director says, “An integrated approach is needed – first wise water use and only then should supply side solutions be considered. The water sector can not solve the problem all alone, it is a very integrated issue that involves many sectors like agriculture, tourism, energy and no less important environment”.

The Jordan River is being neglected by its supposed guardians Israel, Jordan and Syria who fervently divert its fresh water mostly for industrial agricultural needs. Uncontrolled sewage discharge and closed borders contribute further to the dire condition of the River – which has been reduced to a meagre flow. The Dead Sea, fed by the Jordan River is consequently drying up. World Bank studies to so call “Save the Dead Sea” by building a conduit from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea ignore the root causes of the problem.

“We call on the Euro-Mediterranean Minister to adopt the restoration of the lower Jordan River as a Mediterranean Union project and approach the water issues from a livelihood perspective, such as that of the Palestinians who would benefit from access to a healthy river,” says Nader Khateeb, the Palestinian director of EcoPeace.

Two official side events are being held in the late afternoon of the first day of the conference, December 21st, one by the World Bank on the Red Dead project and the other by EcoPeace on the state of the Lower River Jordan.

For more information, contact EcoPeace Directors at the Ministerial meeting:

Munqeth Mehyar +962-777548477
Nader Khateeb +972-522875022
Gidon Bromberg +972-524532597 or
Mira Edelstein, EcoPeace Foreign Media Officer at +972-54-6392937, [email protected]