Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Water Binding

This past week Israel and Jordan applied Annex II (Water) article III(5) of their peace treaty which guarantees the quality of the water shared between the two countries after Israel supplied clean water to Jordan following an oil spill in the Yarmouk River. Not only was polluted water originating in Israel replaced, but subsequent arrangements were made by Israelis and Jordanians to assure this-first ever--incident, never happens again. Jordanian officials stated that the pollution has been cleaned up and that Israel has pumped more than the normally required amounts of water into the drainage basin which supplies Amman with its drinking water. (The reason the volume of fresh water transferred to Jordan was larger than the amount contaminated is that under agreements, Israel had to transfer a certain amount anyway.)

In a time when the region is facing severe drought, it's encouraging to see that even when national water resources are under stress, the tenants of the treaty are respected. It may have been easy for Israel to dispute claims of pollution or for Jordan to have exaggerated the water contaminated, but both countries adhered to the treaty. This incident has the effect of 1) deepening relations between the countries by demonstrating good faith cooperation and open publicity of this cooperation. 2) demonstrating the effectiveness and relevance of--at least this section--of the peace treaty and 3) demonstrating that the mutual need and dependence for water encourages good faith relations between states because negative treatment of a riparian's claim could disincline that riparian to reciprocate in future instances.

No comments: