Quick Facts about the River

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ottoman bridge gesher
Clean water in the Jordan

Past: (Thousands of years ago – mid 20th Century)

  • An annual average of 1.3 billion cubic meters of water once flowed in the Lower Jordan River to the Dead Sea
  • Historic crossing point with commercial and cultural connections between major cities of the Valley

Present: (1962 – 2015)

  • 96% of the River’s waters diverted for domestic and agricultural use, by Israel, Syria and Jordan.
  • Untreated or poorly treated sewage, saline water and agricultural runoff dumped in the River from Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian communities
  • Diversion and pollution has caused an ecological collapse – more than 50 % of the valley’s biodiversity has been lost.
  • Most of the River Valley is a border / military area; off-limits to the public


  • EcoPeace scientific study undertaken recommends that 400-600 million cubic meters of water are needed to rehabilitate the Lower Jordan River
  • EcoPeace water economy research identifiednearly 1 billion cubic meters of water that can be saved in the region – part of which, from Israel and Jordan, can be utilized to meet the rehabilitation goal for the Lower Jordan River, and to restore Palestinian water rights
  • Large scale desalination takes place in Israel decreasing dependence on the Sea of Galilee as a fresh water source 

2013Change is finally beginning to take place:

  • Israel releases 9 million cubic meters of water from the Sea of Galilee into the Lower Jordan River, and has pledged to raise this amount to 30 million cubic meters in 2017
  • Pollutants beginning to be removed by 3 Waste Water Treatment Plants built in the River Valley (one in the Jordan Valley Regional Council in Israel, another one in North Shouneh in Jordan, and a treatment plant in Jericho in Palestine)

2015 and looking into the Future:

  • EcoPeace completes a 3-year research study and published the first-ever Integrated NGO Regional Master Plan for the Sustainable Development of the Jordan River Valley
  • The Master Plan suggests 127 “interventions” (projects) for the rehabilitation of the Jordan River Valley
  • Investments of $ 4.5 Billion USD are needed to implement these projects
  • $500 Million USD worth of projects identified as capable of moving forward immediately