Legal Framework of Groundwater Management in the Middle East (Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Territories)
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.
KeywordsGroundwater ownership control of extraction and use pollution Interim agreement Joint Water Committee water rights water law
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