Israeli, Jordanian officials signing historic agreement on water trade

Signing the agreement on Thursday is National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom, alongside his Jordanian counterpart, Water and Irrigation Minister Hazim El-Naser.

February 26, 2015 15:39
2 minute read.
Dead Sea



Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Bringing a historic deal to fruition, Israeli and Jordanian government officials on Thursday afternoon are signing a bilateral agreement to exchange water and jointly funnel Red Sea brines to the shrinking Dead Sea.

The full-fledged agreement, which is being signed on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea on Thursday afternoon, is the result of a memorandum of understanding signed among Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian officials on December 9, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

According to Thursday’s agreement, Jordan and Israel will share the potable water produced by a future desalination plant in Aqaba, from which salty brines will be piped to the Dead Sea. In return for its portion of the desalinated water in the South, Israel will be doubling its sales of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) water to Jordan on the countries’ northern border.

Signing the agreement on Thursday is National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom, alongside his Jordanian counterpart, Water and Irrigation Minister Hazim El-Naser.

"In Washington, we just declared that we are going to sign an agreement,” Maya Eldar, an advisor to Shalom on the project, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, over the phone from the signing ceremony. “This is a real agreement that is going to make sure the cooperation and relationship between Israel and Jordan is going to last."

More specifically, the agreement involves the construction of a 65- to 80-million cubic meter desalination plant in Aqaba, from which Israel would be able to buy some 35 of water to convey to its desert south, Eldar explained. In return, Jordan would be able to buy an additional 50 of water from Lake Kinneret annually, roughly doubling its current allocation and quenching of the increasingly thirsty northern portion of the country.

In addition to all of these water swaps among the neighbors, the agreement involves the construction of a 200-kilometer pipeline to carry residual salt brines from the Aqaba desalination plant to the depleting Dead Sea.

While the original December 2013 memorandum of understanding also called for Israel to enable the direct sale of an additional 20 of water from Mekorot national water company to the PA, Eldar said that this issue is being worked on separately.

"We are going to provide water from the Israeli system to the Palestinians at points where they need water, and we are going to start discussing with them as soon as possible,” she said.

In addition to the commitment to the water exchanges and Red Sea to Dead Sea pipeline construction, the signatories on Thursday also committed to the formation of a Joint Administration Body for the project, where relevant officials from both countries will be equally represented, Eldar explained.

Calling the agreement signing an extension of the 1995 Israel-Jordan peace treaty, Eldar stressed that “this continues the chapter on water.”

“It’s a very historical moment,” she told the Post. “We’ve been working for so many years on this, and this is the first cooperation that is real – it’s for many years ahead.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Iceland's Hatari unveils
May 24, 2019
Icelandic band Hatari presents last surprise, song with Palestinian