Last updated on: 8/24/2015 | Author:

What Are the Sources of Water in the Israeli-Palestinian Region?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)


This site was archived on Aug. 3, 2021. The two-state solution is no longer the most popular solution among the jurisdictions involved. A reconsideration of the topic is possible in the future.

Mohammed T. Obidallah, MSc, environmental science researcher associated with the University of Cologne (Germany) and the University of Jordan in Amman (Jordan) at the time of the quote, in a Nov. 2008 article for the Central European Journal of International and Security Studies titled “Water and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict,” available from the ETH Zurich website, wrote:

“[T]he Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be attributed, to some extent, to disputes over the scarce and valuable water resources of the Jordan River basin and its aquifers. Israel and Palestine share the Jordan River with three other riparian countries, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, and both also share four groundwater aquifer basins: the Mountain Aquifers (the North-eastern, the Western, and the Eastern Mountain Aquifers) and the Coastal Aquifer. The Mountain Aquifer is shared by Israel and the West Bank and the Coastal aquifer is shared by Israel and Gaza. Since 1967 Israel has controlled both of these water resources where it allocates and sells water to the Palestinians… Water has been central, together with such issues as Jerusalem, final frontier placement, Israeli settlements, Palestinian refugees and security, in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations since the early 1990s. To date, only modest steps towards reconciling conflicting views have been taken… The failure to remedy the water situation has led to a water crisis.”

Nov. 2008

The Water Resources Action Project (WRAP), a US-based nonprofit, in a Dec. 2013 report titled “A Comparative Study of Water Data Across Israel, West Bank and Jordan,” available from their website, wrote:

“The primary sources of water in Israel, West Bank, and Jordan are a combination of surface water rivers and seas, groundwater reservoirs, and desalinization plants. Surface water accounts for 30% of Israel’s supply, totaling 550 million m3/year (MCM/yr) [million cubic meters per year]. Major sources of surface water include the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River. However, the Jordan River has become polluted and has lost 90% of its normal flow (Belt). Israel also sits on a series of major aquifers, which yield 850 MCM/yr. Furthermore, Israel has initiated a major project to develop several large desalination plants with the capacity to supply approximately 500 MCM/yr by 2015.”

Dec. 2013

The Jewish Virtual Library, an online encyclopedia developed by the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE), a US-based nonprofit, in an entry titled “Water in Israel: Israel’s Chronic Water Problem,” available from the Jewish Virtual Library website (accessed Aug. 5, 2015), wrote:

Conventional Water Resources:… Israel’s main freshwater resources are: Lake Kinneret – the Sea of Galilee, the Coastal Aquifer – along the coastal plain of the Mediterranean Sea, and the Mountain Aquifer – under the central north-south (Carmel) mountain range. Additional smaller regional resources are located in the Upper Galilee, Western Galilee, Beit Shean Valley, Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea Rift, the Negev and the Arava. The long-term average quantity of replenishable water from major water resources amounts to about 1,800 MCM [million cubic meters] per year…

Non-conventional Water Resources and Conservation: After drawing on nearly all of its readily available water resources and promoting vigorous conservation programs, Israel has long made it a national mission to stretch existing sources by developing non-conventional water sources, while promoting conservation. These efforts have focused on the following: reclaimed wastewater effluents; intercepted runoff and artificial recharge; artificially-induced rainfall – cloud seeding; and desalination.”

Aug. 5, 2015

The Palestinian Hydrology Group, a Palestinian non-governmental organization, in the “Fast Facts” section of its website, available at (accessed Aug. 5, 2015), wrote:

“The oPt [occupied Palestinian territory] hosts a considerable amount of fresh water resources, predominantly found in the form of surface water and groundwater. The bulk of surface water is supplied by the Jordan River, while the rest is distributed amongst numerous wadis seasonal lakes and springs. Groundwater resources are supplied by two major aquifers: The Coastal Aquifer in Gaza and the Mountain Aquifer in the West Bank, the latter consisting of three main sub-aquifer basins (Western, Eastern, and Northeastern) classified according to their different flow directions.

The Jordan River is a vital natural resource in the region that extends over 300 kilometers from the North of Israel flowing all the way to the Dead Sea.”

Aug. 5, 2015

Shared Groundwater Basins

Shared Groundwater Basins
Source: Shaddad Attili, PhD, “Israel and Palestine: Legal and Policy Aspects of the Current and Future Joint Management and Shared Water Resources,” available from, June 2004