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«Managing Blue Gold New Perspectives on Water Security in the Levantine Middle East Mari Luomi (editor) Managing Blue Gold New Perspectives on Water ...»

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Blue Gold

New Perspectives on Water Security

in the Levantine Middle East

Mari Luomi (editor)

Managing Blue Gold

New Perspectives on Water Security

in the Levantine Middle East

Mari Luomi (editor)


Managing Blue Gold

New Perspectives on Water Security

in the Levantine Middle East


Reports can be ordered from the

Finnish Institute of International Affairs

+358 20 6111 707


All FIIA reports and other publications are also available on our website at www.upi-fiia.fi Language editing: Lynn Nikkanen Graphic design: Nordenswan & Siirilä Oy Layout: Mari Pakarinen / Juvenes Print Printed by: Tampereen Yliopistopaino Oy – Juvenes Print, Tampere 2010 The Finnish Institute of International Affairs Ulkopoliittinen instituutti PL 400 00161 Helsinki Finland www.upi-fiia.fi firstname.lastname@upi-fiia.fi ISBN 978-951-769-282-3 ISSN 1458-994X Contents Introduction – Mari Luomi 11 I.

Case studies 1. The Internal dimensions of water security: the drought crisis in Northeastern Syria – Hannu Juusola 21 2. The Marginalization of water in Turkish-Syrian relations – Zeki Kütük 36 3. Conflicts, urbanization and bad governance: explaining Lebanon’s water problems – Marja Kaitaniemi 46 4. Is more enough? The sustainability of additional water projects in Jordan – Taru Savolainen 60 5. The management of water resources in Syria and Lebanon:

shortcomings and challenges – Kirsti Krogerus 73 II. Emerging issues 6. Water governance under reform pressure: are the Arab societies ready for change? – Olli Varis 86 7. Islam and water: Islamic guiding principles on water management – Laura Wickström 98 8. Mobilizing funding in the water sector: the potential for private sector participation and desalination in the Levant region – Piia Moilanen and Ulla-Maija Mroueh 109 Conclusions – Multiple challenges ahead – Mari Luomi 126 Annex 1: A situational assessment of water in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Israel – Piia Moilanen, Ulla-Maija Mroueh and Mari Luomi 134 Annex 2: Training course on Water, Security and Climate Change in the Levant, spring 2010 – Mari Luomi 138 List of tables and maps 141 FIIA REPORT 25/2010 3 4 FIIA REPORT 25/2010 Acknowledgements This report is based on an expert training course that was jointly arranged by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs and the Finnish Institute in the Middle East in Helsinki, Damascus and Beirut during the spring of 2010. In addition to acknowledging the contributors to this report for their enthusiasm and commitment, the editor would like to thank the organizers of the training course, without whom our trip to Syria and Lebanon in May 2010 would not have been possible: Dr Hannu Juusola, Manal Chatila and Laura Parviainen at the Finnish Institute in Damascus for scientific support and practical arrangements in Syria; Anu Leinonen and Eeva Talvitie at the Foundation of the Finnish Institute in the Middle East for logistical support, and the Foundation for financial support; and Wael Hmaidan and Nadine Ajami of IndyACT for lending us their vast network of local stakeholders and for their impeccable arrangement of meetings and visits in Lebanon.

The editor would also like to thank all the Syrian and Lebanese water professionals and other stakeholders who showed us true Middle Eastern hospitality during our stay by sharing not only their time, but also their insights into the often problematic and sometimes sensitive issue that water in this region has become.

The editor is also grateful to Anna Korppoo at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs for her support and guidance throughout the editing process.

FIIA REPORT 25/2010 5 6 FIIA REPORT 25/2010 Contributors Hannu Juusola: Director, Finnish Institute in the Middle East. Dr Juusola was one of the organizers of the training course for Finnish professionals, of which this report is a continuation. Dr Juusola is currently on leave from the University of Helsinki, where he is a University Lecturer in the Department of World Cultures. He has published extensively on the history and politics of the Levant area.

Dr. Juusola’s main current research interest is identity politics in Lebanon, Syria and Israel/Palestine.

Marja Kaitaniemi: Policy Advisor, European Parliament. Ms Kaitaniemi assists Green League Finnish MEP, Satu Hassi, in her work in the Environment Committee of the European Parliament. Her work mainly focuses on EU climate policy and the UNFCCC negotiations.

She takes a personal interest in the interconnections between climate change and human rights, development and security. Ms Kaitaniemi has previously worked as a climate and energy policy officer at WWF.

She holds BSc and MSc degrees in environmental studies.

Kirsti Krogerus: Senior Researcher, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) Freshwater Centre. Ms Krogerus has extensive administrational and management experience in the leadership of the environmental and nature conservation departments and units in the Pirkanmaa and Häme Regional Environment Centres. She is currently completing a doctoral thesis on the importance of particulate matter on phosphorus flow and lake eutrophication for the University of Jyväskylä. She also specializes in the application of different water quality models and the development work of the models.

Zeki Kütük: Adjunct Professor, Researcher, Tampere Peace Research Institute, University of Tampere. Dr Kütük’s primary research area is Turkey and its relations with the European Union, Greece and Cyprus.

He is currently interested in Turkey’s new foreign policy, particularly the country’s relations with its neighbours in the Middle East and the Balkans. He also lists migration, integration, and border surveillance in Finland and Turkey as additional areas of interest.

FIIA REPORT 25/2010 7 Mari Luomi: Researcher, International Politics of Natural Resources and the Environment research programme, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. Ms Luomi was one of the organizers of the training course for professionals on water issues in the Levant, which served as the impetus for this report. She is completing a doctoral thesis on the energy security and responses to climate change of small Gulf monarchies at the Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies of Durham University. She also specializes in climate policy and security in the Middle East and the politics of sustainability and regime survival in the Gulf.

Piia Moilanen: Senior Technology Advisor, Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes). Ms Moilanen is managing Tekes’ Water Programme for the period 2008-2012. The objective of the five-year programme is to contribute to technology transfer, new applications development, business competence development, and the overall competitiveness of the Finnish water sector in the international market. Ms Moilanen has completed her Licentiate thesis in environmental technology at the Tampere University of Technology and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Helsinki School of Economics.

Ulla-Maija Mroueh: Senior Research Scientist, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Mrs Mroueh is research coordinator in the research field of water and waste technologies at VTT. She holds a Master of Science degree from Helsinki University of Technology, coupled with over 25 years of professional experience in environmental research and research management. Her main competencies include environmental aspects of water technologies, waste recycling concepts, and life cycle environmental aspects of recycling processes and concepts. She has published numerous articles and reports on environmental technologies.

Taru Savolainen: Project Coordinator, Think tank e2. Ms Savolainen is currently working as an intern at the Finnish Embassy in Damascus.

She has studied Development Studies at the University of Helsinki and is writing her Master’s thesis on the social ideals of Islamist movements. At Think tank e2 she has worked mainly with projects related to development policy research and awareness-raising on development issues.

8 FIIA REPORT 25/2010 Olli Varis: Professor, Water Resources, Aalto University. Professor Varis has expertise in a wide range of water-related disciplines, including global and international water issues, development policies, environmental and social impact assessment, computational modelling of the environment and resource management. He holds a doctorate in hydrology and water resources management from the Helsinki University of Technology, currently known as Aalto University. Varis has over two decades of professional experience and is the author of over 330 scientific articles.

Laura Wickström: Researcher, Doctoral Candidate, Åbo Akademi University.

Ms Wickström holds a Master of Arts Degree in Comparative Religion and is currently specializing in Islam and ecology within the Department of Comparative Religion at the Åbo Akademi University.

She also holds a Master’s degree in Public International Law with specialization in Human Rights Law. During 2004-2005 Ms Wickström studied, among other things, Islamic law at the Friedrich-AlexanderUniversität of Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany.

–  –  –

Map 1. The Levantine Middle East 10 FIIA REPORT 25/2010 Mari Luomi Introduction Water security, namely the ability of governments to secure a sustainable water supply for their populations, is becoming increasingly questionable in the Levantine countries of the Middle East. Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel not only share a history of conflict but also a challenging, mostly arid climate, and scarce water resources in comparison to the levels of consumption. This report is a multidisciplinary endeavour to understand the present dynamics and shed light on the future challenges of water security in this part of the Middle East. Through five case studies and three thematic chapters, the report illustrates the complexity and multi-dimensionality of the region’s water issue. A central outcome of the articles contained in the report is that the region is in dire need of sound water management policies and practices that are based on multistakeholder engagement and transboundary cooperation. Internal and external pressures such as growing populations, modernization, economic liberalization, Islam, and climate change will also have to be taken into account and managed. Without a proactive approach that breaks with the current wasteful consumption patterns, the countries of the Levant will not achieve water sustainability, with potentially disastrous ramifications in the near future.

While the geopolitics of the Levant region continues to be as complicated as ever, concerns about the increasing water scarcity in these countries have been mounting in recent years. Recurrent droughts in the agricultural regions of Syria have led as many as a million people to lose their livelihoods. These people have flocked to the country’s urban centres to become ‘water refugees’. The droughts and their unmanaged economic and social consequences have resulted in increasing poverty, unemployment, and social discontent, which in turn increases the potential for internal instabilities. Turkey’s dams have further decreased the flow of the Euphrates River to Syria and Iraq, prompting repeated protests by the lower stream riparians.

Jordan, one of the water-poorest countries in the world, sees no FIIA REPORT 25/2010 11 other solution to its water crisis than expensive additional water supply megaprojects. These projects tap into shared groundwater aquifers, potentially sowing the seeds of either cooperation or, in the worst case, conflict with the neighbouring countries. In Lebanon, unequal and unsafe water distribution is a major concern, with only around 10% of Beirut’s population of two million having daily access to clean water. Also, it is feared that if droughts in the region increase as a consequence of climate change, Israel, which already occupies territories containing strategic water resources, such as the Golan Heights, might seek to increase its control over these areas and other transboundary water sources. It is therefore evident that insufficient water supply is not only an issue of human security, but one of national security and stability as well.

The Levant’s water scarcity in numbers

The underlying cause of the Levant’s water insecurity is the chronic imbalance between its population and its water resources: while the populations of Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Palestinian Territories, Israel and Turkey constitute 1.7% of the world’s population, their freshwater resources amount to only 0.4% of the global total. 1 Despite differences in annual precipitation, 111-661 mm, and the availability of water resources, ranging from roughly 150 to 1100 m 3 per capita, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon and Syria all suffer from water scarcity, the limit of which is considered to be 1000 m 3 per person.

Even Turkey’s current water security, around 2900 m 3 of renewable water resources per capita per year, is expected to decrease in the coming decades.2 The region’s arid and semi-arid climatic conditions are also characterized by uncertainty: annual rainfalls may vary from 60% to 125% from the multiannual average. 3 1 World Bank, World Development Indicators (April 2010); FAO, Aquastat online database.

http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/dbase/index.stm. Accessed on 25 September 2010.

2 See table 5 in Annex 1.

3 Rana Samuels, ‘Understanding and predicting climate variations in the Middle East for sustainable water resource management and development’, Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 69-05(2008), Section: B, p. 2858.

12 FIIA REPORT 25/2010 In addition to the physical challenges, there are a multitude of factors which interact to cause the Levant’s dire water situation. In the largely arid Eastern Mediterranean, water consumption is not in equilibrium with availability and water mismanagement is widespread.

Emphasis is still placed more on the supply rather than the demand side of management, while governance is often far from satisfactory and is characterized by top-down decision-making, weak institutions, lack of coordination and insufficient data availability and sharing.

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