Haddadin - A Community of Water and Energy


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Haddadin - A Community of Water and Energy

  1. 1. A Community of Water and Energy for the Human Environment Munther Haddadin, Former minister of water and irrigation, JordanNatural Synergy • Water and energy have become the driver of economic and social development to benefit mankind and his environment. Availability of water without energy resources slows down the process and increases its reliance on imports. • There is a natural synergy of water and energy. Solar energy evaporates water from the oceans and the inland, and wind energy drives the clouds thus formed toward the land where precipitation takes place. By potential energy (gravity) precipitation balance is maintained by evaporation (solar energy input), soil water retention and blue water (surface and ground) that is driven back by potential energy to the oceans where it originated. Energy is generated from natural and man-made waterfalls. • Water and solar energy team up to enable the growth of plants and forests (photosynthesis) and facilitate the production of food which, in turn, is a source of energy to man, animal and birds. Forests and organic matter have been a source of energy either through direct combustion or through the historic formation of fossil fuel and coal. • Water can not be served without energy input either in the form of potential energy (gravity flow) or electrical energy (pumping). Conversely, energy input in industry invariably needs water in the industrial process either for cooling or for generation of steam which, in turn, can be used to generate energy. • Natural environment is enhanced by water availability, and the human environment cannot be sustained without water.Status of Countries • Countries of the world are economically classified into four income categories: High income, Upper Middle, Lower Middle and Low income economies. • The water needs to balance demands for municipal, industrial and agricultural water are 1300, 1500, 1700 and 1900 cubic meters per capita per year for the above categories respectively. The energy needs, on the other hand, are proportionate to the income level. • A look at countries in North Africa, Western and Central Asia reveals that most of their countries maintain an imbalance in the population-water resources equation demonstrating water deficits; and some others display surpluses in energy resources. • With very few exceptions, there is virtually a need across these countries to regulate their relationships concerning the shared resources of water and fossil fuel. Examples of lack of comprehensive agreements exist in the cases of the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Orontes, the Jordan, the Nile and the Senegal. This is not to mention a score of shared groundwater resources over which there are no agreements whatsoever. 1
  2. 2. • The lack of agreement over water and energy resources triggers misunderstandings and propel conflicts that could escalate to unwanted confrontations. Conversely, understandings and need promote motivations for cooperation among riparian states.A Community of Water and Energy • The status of regional and trans-regional cooperation among the countries of North Africa, Western and Central Asia is discouraging. Weak cooperation or the lack thereof set the stage for conflict rather than cooperation. • Countries of the above regions share values, history and cultural platforms that could be conducive to regional and trans-regional cooperation. • There are specific issues that have created misunderstandings over shared resources. Turkey, Iraq and Syria have plenty of issues to discuss and agree upon concerning the Tigris and the Euphrates. The same holds true for Lebanon, Syria and Turkey over the Orontes, and for Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Israel over the Jordan, for Iran and Iraq over the Shatt El Arab waterway and the Qaroon River, and for Egypt and Sudan with the other several riparian parties on the Nile, and for Senegal, Mauritania and Mali over the Senegal River. The potential conflicts among those riparian parties are real. • There are scores of groundwater aquifers tapped, but not yet regulated, by the riparian parties. Also, there are oil fields tapped but not regulated by the concerned states (e.g. Kuwait and Iraq over Rumail field). The potential conflicts because of those are very real. • The creation of a Community of Water and Energy in which the countries of the above regions are members can serve to prevent escalation of such conflicts into hostile confrontation and wars, and can set the stage for regional and trans-regional cooperation. • Such a community is a reminder of the Community of Coal and Steel in postwar Europe that was created in 1955 and developed into the European Common Market, the European Commission and the European Union in a few decades. European cooperation sets an example for other regions to follow. • A Community of Water and Energy can serve as a platform for conflict prevention and conflict resolution over these important resources. It can thus trigger cooperation for the benefit of all parties. Cooperation yields a positive sum while confrontation is known to have a zero sum and negative outcomes. 2