Jordan and Israel agree to stop Dead Sea and Jordan River deterioration

Agreement aims to 'rehabilitate' the joint lake and river

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Jordan and Israel agreed on Thursday to work together to halt the drying up of the Dead Sea and the Jordan River, which form a large part of the border between the two countries.

The official Jordanian news agency said a bilateral declaration of intent was signed on the sidelines of the Cop27 climate meetings in Sharm El Sheikh “to rehabilitate and improve the environment and water system of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea”.

The report did not give any details about how this could be carried out as farming and mining on both sides continues to cause the waters to decrease.

The Dead Sea is dropping by almost one metre a year. The highly salty lake is a main tourism destination in the two countries but also a centre of their potash industries, a main cause of the water drain. The Jordan River's water flow is only 7 per cent of the level it was in the 1950s, before Israel, Jordan and Syria began damming its tributaries.

The agreement, the news agency reported, “aims to create job opportunities and more water for those living on both sides of the Jordan River, including Palestinians,” without being more specific.

It was signed by Jordan's Water Minister Muhammad Najjar and Israel's Minister of Environmental Protection, Tamar Zanderberg.

The two countries signed the Wadi Araba peace agreement in 1994, ending a technical state of war that lasted 46 years. Since then Israel, which has one of the most advanced irrigation systems in the world, has been supplying Jordan with water as the kingdom's water resources have lessened sharply.

Last year the two countries struck a deal whereby Israel would provide Jordan with more water in return for electricity from a proposed solar power plant.

Updated: November 17, 2022, 3:00 PM