Article

Becker, N., and F. A. Ward (2014), Adaptive water management in Israel: structure and policy options, International Journal of Water Resources Development, 1-18.

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Abstract

Difficulties in integrating technical, economic and institutional factors present a major gap in analytical capacity to guide water policy. This article presents an integrated framework to support water policy and guide water management choices, with application to Israel. That framework rests on the theory of economic policy originally developed by Tinbergen. It sees national water challenges as consisting of external factors, constraints, policy instruments and targets. The need for a modern implementation of the theory of economic policy is motivated by emerging environmental requirements, scarce water, growing demands for domestic use, and ongoing needs to implement existing and potential peace agreements

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... That can be supply expansion, demand reduction, or a combination. An earlier and simplified version of the mathematical model is described elsewhere [Becker and Ward, 2014]. Access to the posted model code in GAMS is described in Appendix A. Table 1 shows results of the optimized price and use of water by year, peace treaty obligation, environmental flow requirements, cost of desalination, and type of water use. ...
... The model structure is defined below using the GAMS notation, described by the vendor at gams.com. An earlier and simplified version of this documentation is published [Becker and Ward, 2014]. ...
Article
This paper presents a framework for discovering an economically viable water sharing plan among neighboring communities for promoting peace and environmental protection. Its application is to the Middle East in which Israel may be facing water supply obligations to address environmental requirements and for a possible a peace agreement with its Palestinian neighbors. The framework consists of integrating external factors, constraints, policy instruments, and targets. Our findings from a constrained optimization analysis of Israel's national water system show that the costs of increased deliveries are dependent on two major issues: (1) achieving integrated water resources management (IWRM) in which efficient combinations of expansion from several supply sources and reductions in demands occur over time, and (2) the cost of desalination technologies. We identify a $US 1.46 billion price tag, in present value terms, from using integrated management of demand reduction and supply expansion under current desalination costs. Adjustment costs will decline both with anticipated reductions in desalination costs and with an efficient implementation of IWRM. These adjustments can contribute to moderating regional tensions and protecting key ecological assets while addressing water scarcity in a volatile corner of the world.
... The optimization framework carefully specified, has the potential to perform well in the face of minimum data, a complex objective function, variables that are both under and outside control of the policymaker as well as numerous constraints (Kutcher and Norton, 1982). Integrated optimization models offer considerable utility to address interrelated processes, such as hydrology, economics, environment, institutions, and policy applications (Becker and Ward, 2014;Gohar and Ward, 2010). ...
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Quando si va ad analizzare la questione idrica nelle sue più varie sfaccettature si rischia di cadere in errore molto frequentemente. Uno dei primi assunti che si sarebbe portati a credere corretto al riguardo è che la scarsità della risorsa idrica, ad oggi è protagonista in molti dibattiti aventi come tema cardine il cambiamento climatico, possa portare a generare conflitti e che tale condizione rappresenterebbe un attentato alla sicurezza all’interno di qualsiasi contesto spaziale. Non infrequentemente simili teorie vengono sposate anche – e soprattutto - con riguardo allo spazio mediorientale, in special modo per ciò che concerne la questione del conflitto israelo-palestinese. Per avere una visione geostrategicamente corretta di questo quadro occorre però innanzitutto sfatare tali miti e visioni, i quali vanno dalla pura razionalità biologica a un mero “riduzionismo realista”: i rischi sono quelli di dare una lettura deterministica, semplicizzata e depoliticizzata del problema senza tenere conto degli elementi più importanti da cui partire, ossia le influenze che i fattori geografici ivi presenti hanno sull’agire degli attori in gioco e le loro scelte, le quali possono andare dal puntare su settori produttivi ad alto tasso di consumo idrico all’investire o meno sulle infrastrutture, all’essere in un contesto di pubblica o privata proprietà delle risorse naturali. Premessa a qualsivoglia tipologia di discorso legato all’idrogeopolitica di un determinato spazio territoriale è il tenere sempre presente che le risorse sono fatti naturali che l’azione umana - culturale ed economica - trasforma, che servono all’uomo: in questo senso non si guarda all’acqua in quanto elemento naturale ma all’acqua di cui l’uomo necessita al fine di implementare i propri processi di sostentamento e produzione. Acqua in geopolitica è la risorsa impiegabile dall’uomo e relazionata al livello disponibile di tecnologia per il suo sfruttamento e alle necessità del sistema economico. Chiarito questo, non ha senso parlare di acqua-risorsa allacciandola a una visione diretta di abbondanza o scarsità, poiché i luoghi vanno riconosciuti come poveri o ricchi di acqua in relazione a quelle che sono le esigenze della popolazione che vi abita, possano essere esigenze di sopravvivenza, politiche, economiche, culturali e via discorrendo. Ciascuna opzione ne lascia fuori altre, ed è proprio la scelta compiuta che andrà a determinare la condizione di abbondanza o scarsità di cui sopra; in tale quadro, le risorse naturali costituiscono un elemento molto importante ma non l’unico. In questo lavoro di tesi si andrà dunque ad analizzare la questione idrogeopolitica di uno spazio preciso, ossia quello sul quale si dispiega da settant’anni il conflitto israelo-palestinese, adottando come lente attraverso la quale guardare alle varie problematiche quella dell’approccio transcalare, il quale rivolge la propria attenzione alle relazioni tra le diverse scale, ai processi che le attraversano e a cosa accade nel momento in cui si passa da una scala all’altra. Analizzare il tutto in prospettiva transcalare significherà individuare e spiegare i condizionamenti dati e ricevuti da ciascuna scala, andando oltre i meri confini statali e sposando una logica transnazionale che non si incentri in maniera soggettiva sugli attori ma che parta da quelle che sono le permanenze territoriali, ossia i fattori geograficamente strategici dello spazio mediorientale, per comprendere gli effetti che questi ultimi giocano sulle relazioni di potere che su di esso si sviluppano, senza dimenticare di relazionarli a elementi quali i soggetti politici, gli interessi, le forze, le culture e i comportamenti: tutto ciò ci permetterà di osservare la questione idrogeopolitica all’interno del conflitto israelo-palestinese da un punto di vista nuovo, certamente più completo, composito e puntuale, spogliando le analisi che su tale contesto vengono portate avanti da assunti troppo spesso scorretti, da logiche deterministe e convinzioni riduttivistiche, le quali non permettono realmente di guardare a questa realtà spaziale per ciò che realmente essa è: uno spazio territoriale sul quale gli elementi geografici senza dubbio vanno in parte a predeterminare e a condizionare l’agire dei diversi soggetti che su di esso implementano le proprie politiche e dispiegano la propria esistenza.
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Water claims in many of the world’s arid basins exceed reliable supplies. Water demands for irrigation, urban use, the environment, and energy continue to grow, while supplies remain constrained by unsustainable use, drought and impacts of climate change. For example, policymakers in North America’s Upper Rio Grande Basin face the challenge of designing plans for allocating the basin’s water supplies efficiently and fairly to support current uses and current environments. Managers also seek resilient institutions that can ensure adequate supplies for future generations. This paper addresses those challenges by designing and applying an integrated basin-scale framework that accounts for the basin’s most important hydrologic, economic, and institutional constraints. Its unique contribution is a quantitative analysis of three policies for addressing long term goals for the basin’s reservoirs and aquifers: (1) no sustainability for water stocks, (2) sustaining water stocks, and (3) renewing water stocks. It identifies water use and allocation trajectories over time that result from each of these three plans. Findings show that it is hydrologically and institutionally feasible to manage the basin’s water supplies sustainably. The economic cost of protecting the sustainability of the basin’s water stocks can be achieved at 6–11 percent of the basin’s average annual total economic value of water over a 20 year time horizon.
Article
Water management in the Levant often focuses on a ‘hydraulic imperative’. This was recently illustrated by the peace discussions between Israel and Syria, with their emphasis on the Golan's water. Such a focus limits policy makers to a purely hydrological perspective, and leads to a focus on securing water access and controlling ‘hydrostrategic territories’. This excludes or underestimates other salient issues, and disregards potentially useful managerial-technical solutions. For any peace settlement to be sustainable, a more comprehensive approach is needed, unbound by the single-issue ‘hydraulic imperative’ to better take into account the multifaceted aspects of the water.
Article
Caution is called for in endorsing the direct transfer of technology and experience in water management from one situation to another in the expectation that the outcome will be more effective water use. This can best be illustrated by reference to the potential for transfer of developed-world standards and practices to the developing world. Questions arise as to the extent to which such transfers are possible, given contrasting political structures and priorities and different living standards, cultural traits, systems of land tenure, technological and literacy levels and financial and infrastructure constraints. Pursuing over-optimistic expectations that North-South replication and exchange of experience and technology offer a ready solution to the water problems of developing countries is likely to lead to frustration in seeking unrealistic and unachievable outcomes. The preferred approach is to build bridges between water managers and water-using sectors in emerging nations of the developing world, and to encourage a benchmarking process involving the South-South transfer of successful experience and better practice in water management.
Article
This paper focuses on defining the concept and process of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), and in particular what is being 'integrated'. In the 'natural system' integration traditionally involves land and water; surface water and groundwater; water quantity and quality; and upstream and downstream water-related interests, including the upstream freshwater catchments and the downstream coastal zone. However, equally important, but less traditional, is the integration in the 'human system' involving a holistic institutional approach; mainstreaming water in the national economy; cross-sectoral integration in national policy development; linkages to national security and trade regimes; and involvement of all stakeholders across different management levels.
Article
Although ephemeral streams constitute critical natural resources in dryland environments, water regulations and monitoring protocols typically focus on perennial streams, and may not always be appropriate for characterizing intermittent systems. The article presents findings from a comprehensive evaluation of environmental conditions in two ephemeral transboundary streams: the Hebron/Besor and Zomar/Alexander. The streams are representative of numerous watersheds which originate in Palestinian land and flow into Israel. Transboundary streams in the region exhibit high concentrations of point and non-point sources of pollution. Many of the region's streams that in the past had no flow except for isolated storm incidents have emerged as perennial streams, channelling raw or partially treated industrial or municipal wastes. Management of these natural resources constitutes a unique challenge because of the complex local political circumstances. The article presents chemical and biological monitoring results, identifying high levels of non-point source nutrient runoff during rainfall events and high percolation of contaminated stream water during its flow that should be addressed in future restoration strategies. The practical challenges associated with the monitoring of ephemeral streams are also discussed with suggestions for future studies and management efforts.
Article
This paper deals with a cost effective analysis of two options to increase the water supply in Israel. The first policy is to divert 300 Million Cubic Meters (MCM) of water from the Sea of Galilee (SOG) to the central part of Israel. This policy is the existing one. The second policy is to replace this diversion with desalinated water plants that will be built on the Mediterranean Coast (MC). These two options carry both market and non-market consequences. The first policy has a negative effect on the SOG itself due to the lower lake level. It also carries some negative consequences on the Jordan River (JR) and the Dead Sea (DS) which are located downstream. The second policy involves water production at a higher cost and has negative external effects of scarce coastal land usage and high energy consumption. A Payment Card (PC) Contingent Valuation (CV) survey was performed at the four sites (the SOG, the DS, the JR and the MS). We show that when one takes these non-use values into account, the preferred solution will shift from the usage of the SOG to the desalination policy.
Article
The perceived shortage of water within Israel and the Palestinian authority raises the need to explore the ways and means to ameliorate existing and expected water scarcity. This study stresses the need for demand management and market allocation that will shift water from agriculture to other uses. Since the real price of water in this region is too high, water should not serve as input for many of the crops that are currently grown by the local population. The hidden and visible subsidies that are currently supporting the prices of water would be better used to create substituting employment to shift more farmers away from agricultural occupations. Such policy will ease the shortage of water that is created by policies and behavior that were aimed indirectly, to increase the use of water.
Article
Transboundary environmental degradation often poses serious health and security threats to regional residents. The Israeli–Palestinian conflict further aggravates an environment already characterized by water scarcity, environmental distress and polluted waterways. Yet, common ground appears to emerge from a recent contingent valuation study in which both Israelis and Palestinians reveal common water use and riparian restoration preferences, as well as comparable willingness to pay for proposed restoration efforts. These surprising results – especially that despite vast economic hindrances, Palestinians have revealed similar willingness to contribute financially to stream restoration – indicate the seriousness of regional health issues and demonstrate a foundation for future cooperative restoration efforts. A simple cost–benefit analysis is conducted, which sheds light on future policy formation, especially with regard to water treatment and allocation decisions for both societies.
Article
This paper deals with water as a human right. It examines several international agreements which refer to water as a human right to review whether these agreements are legally binding to states that signed them and/or became members to them, and whether water is considered in these instruments as a ‘human right’. These documents pertain to both branches of international law, in time of peace and in time of war. The paper then examines the ‘status of water’ in the Palestinian Territories occupied by Israel since 1967 in order to evaluate Israel's attitude towards water in these territories and whether it respected the right of the Palestinian population to their water rights.
Article
The powerful forces of market-based globalization have been the central concern in the consideration of the development policies of individual developing countries for several years and will increase their salience in the coming period. Water policy should not be an exception. Market-based globalization having diametrically opposite forces, namely integration into the world economy and marginalization from it, the developing world has been divided into three categories, each requiring a different set of policy responses, including water policies. They are: (1) those countries that are being integrated into the world economy; (2) those that are marginalized from it; and (3) those where both forces (integration and marginalization) are at work simultaneously. Relevant policies, such as full cost pricing, environmental considerations, water productivity in agriculture, conflict in water allocation and others, need to be elaborated along the lines of these three categories of countries.
Article
This paper analyses a number of possible standards for wastewater treatment in Israel from a cost–benefit perspective. Specifically, the paper examines the possibility to introduce stricter standards with respect to both sanitary quality and salinity levels, under the assumption that the treated wastewater is then reused in agriculture. The costs associated with each standard are compared with its expected benefits, and the economically efficient standard is identified. As wastewater reuse in agriculture is an attractive option for countries suffering from water scarcity, it is important to develop guidelines for optimal public policy in the field, and herein lies the main contribution of the paper.
Article
The Mediterranean ecosystem of the Carmel Mountain ridge in Israel is subjected to an increasing number of forest fires of various extents and severities due to intense human activities in the region. On 8 April 2005, a low-moderate severity forest fire occurred at the northwestern part of the ridge and burned more than 150 ha of natural vegetation. Soil water repellency (WR) is a property usually modified by the litter and soil organic matter combustion as a consequence of fire, which has implications for the hydrological balance in the affected soils. A field study was conducted with the following objectives: 1) to investigate in situ WR changes at three soil depths as a consequence of the fire, 2) to evaluate the short-term evolution of WR under field conditions, and 3) to study the relationship between pre-fire vegetation type and slope aspect on the persistence of WR in the burned area. Soil WR was measured by the Water Drop Penetration Time (WDPT) test. Measurements were conducted monthly at 31 field sites within the burned area over a period of seven months (April 2005–November 2005), and compared to adjacent unburned areas. Soil WR measurements included more than 3400 WDPT tests at soil surface and at 5 and 10 cm depths. The results indicate that fire induced WR in previously wettable soils exhibited high levels of persistence at the soil surface during the first six weeks after the fire, while at 5 cm depth WR persistence was lower. At 10 cm depth soil was mostly wettable. After six weeks the frequency of WR occurrence diminished at the soil surface and at 5 cm depth. In addition, WR was found to be highly related with the pre-fire vegetation type and with slope aspect.
Article
The water management policies adopted to address Israel's chronic scarcity have not been without environmental consequences. Yet, through a trial-and-error process, a combined strategy of water transport, rainwater harvesting, and wastewater reuse and desalination, along with a variety of water conservation measures, have put the country on a more sustainable path for the future.
Article
It is the nature of nature in the Middle East that, like everything else, all things are political. Even water is laden with politics as raindrops fall either on Jewish or Arab soil. Long before the Israelis described in “Seeking sustainability: Israel's evolving water management strategy” (A.
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