Legal Framework of Groundwater Management in the Middle East (Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Territories)

  • Raya Marina Stephan


The aim of this chapter is to present the existing legal framework for the management of groundwater in the Middle East (Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Territories) and possible recommendations to achieve sustainable development. In Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, a legal regime for groundwater exists. Nevertheless, in these states, groundwater is facing serious quality and quantity problems such as water level declines due to over-pumping, sea water intrusion in the coastal areas (Coastal Aquifer in Israel) or salinity increase (Highlands in Jordan).

The Palestinian Autonomous Territories represent a special case as the Palestinians still do not hold full sovereignty on their land and water resources. Their groundwater resources, whether transboundary or not, are subject to different water legislation: the Israeli Military Orders (since 1967) and the Palestinian Authority Water Legislation (after the Declaration of Principles (1993) and the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement (1995)).

Sustainable management of groundwater, an important resource in the study area, can be achieved through a suitable legal and institutional framework regulating risk and uncertainty, groundwater extraction and use, groundwater pollution and groundwater related environmental issues, effectively implemented and enforced. In the case of the Palestinian Territories, the key issue is the Palestinian sovereignty on its land and natural resources with a bilateral treaty on the transboundary groundwater.


Groundwater ownership control of extraction and use pollution Interim agreement Joint Water Committee water rights water law 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abouali, G., 1996/97: “Continued control: Israel, Palestinian water and the interim agreement”, in: Palestinian Yearbook of International Law, IX, 64–113.Google Scholar
  2. Abouali, G., 1998: “Natural resources under occupation: the status of Palestinian water under international law”, in: Pace International Law Review, 10,403: 411–574.Google Scholar
  3. Adam R., 2000: “Government failure and public indifference: a portrait of water pollution in Israel”, in: Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy, 1,11: 256–376.Google Scholar
  4. Burchi, S., 1999: “National regulations for groundwater: options, issues and best practices”, in: World Bank (Ed.): Groundwater Legal and Policy perspectives (Washington, D.C.: The World Bank): 55–67.Google Scholar
  5. Caponera, D., 1992: Principles of water law and administration, national and international (Rotterdam: Balkema).Google Scholar
  6. Capes, J.T (Ed): Mejelle [Ottoman Civil Code, English translation of the Turkish text based on the work of C.A. Hooper], available at: <> (last accessed 11 October 2006).Google Scholar
  7. Chebaane, M., Naber, L., Radaideh, K.; Abu Hiljeh, A., 2001: Groundwater management action plan, Amman-Zarqa basin highlands (Amman: Ministry of Water and Irrigation).Google Scholar
  8. Daibes, F., 2003: “Water-related politics and their legal aspects-a progressive approach for solving the water conflict”, in: Water in Palestine Problems-Politics-Prospects (Jerusalem: PASSIA): 5–56.Google Scholar
  9. Laster, R., 1980: “Legal aspects of water quality management in Israel”, in: Shuval H. (Ed.): Water quality under conditions of scarcity: Israel as a case study (New York, Academic Press):. 263–286.Google Scholar
  10. Mallat, H., 1997: Droit de l’urbanisme, de la construction, de l’environnement et de l’eau au Liban (Paris: LGDJ).Google Scholar
  11. Nasser, Y., 2003: “Palestinian water needs and rights in the context of past and future development”, in: Water in Palestine Problems-Politics-Prospects (Jerusalem: PASSIA): 85–123.Google Scholar
  12. Trolldalen, J.M. (Ed.), 1998: Water Laws, Water Institutions and Water Supply Economics in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, the State of Israel (Oslo: CESAR).Google Scholar
  13. Van Edig A., 1999: Aspects of Palestinian Water Rights (Ramallah: Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies).Google Scholar
  14. World Bank, 2001: Syrian Arab Republic, Irrigation Sector Report (Washington, D.C.: World Bank).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raya Marina Stephan
    • 1
  1. 1.AIDA Regional Representative for the Near EastFrance

Personalised recommendations