TEL AVIV – Israel is set to double its annual water supply to Jordan as the country suffers from a deepening water crisis, made worse by the influx of refugees flooding its borders since the Syrian civil war broke out.
Next month, Israel’s national water carrier, Mekorot, will lay a new pipeline from the Sea of Galilee and through the Jordan Valley to provide the Hashemite Kingdom with 100 million cubic meters of water annually, double its current allocation, the Israeli website Globes reported on Wednesday.
The 3.4 mile pipeline was approved by Israel’s Supreme Court and is part of a larger water-sharing settlement between the two countries that was signed last year. As part of the agreement, Jordan will sell potable water from its proposed desalination plant to be built in the southern coastal town of Aqaba.
According to the United Nations Human Rights’ Council, more than 650,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Jordan. As well as leaving Jordan’s economy in tatters, the refugee crisis has meant that some of the worst affected areas of the country have access to water for just six hours a week, according to David Schenker, an Arab affairs expert writing for the Tower magazine.
The water deal comes on the heels of a landmark, $10 billion agreement for Israel to supply Jordan with natural gas over the next decade and a half.