2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 9:45 AM


GOODE, Daniel J., U.S. Geological Survey, Pennsylvania Water Science Center, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648, LENOX, Anna M., USGS (Ret.), Centreville, VA 20120 and SHAMPINE, William J., USGS (Ret.), Ocala, FL 34481, djgoode@usgs.gov

As part of the Middle East Peace Process, the Multilateral Working Group on Water Resources endorsed the Water Data Banks Project in 1994. The ongoing project consists of a series of specific actions by Israelis, Jordanians, and Palestinians (the Parties) to foster the adoption of common, standardized data collection and storage techniques, improve data quality, and improve communication. The project is overseen by an Executive Action Team, EXACT (www.exact-me.org), comprised of senior managers and water experts from water-management agencies of the Parties. Support to EXACT and donor-led projects is contributed by the European Union, France, The Netherlands, and the United States. Former donors include Australia and Canada.

On behalf of the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) managed the Water Data Banks Project and EXACT from 1995 through 2004. Despite difficult political realities, especially after September 2000, successful cooperation among government officials of the Parties helped maintain technical exchange and improved water-management capabilities. Results of joint efforts range from mobile water-quality laboratories to training and customized hydrologic software systems. Participating agencies in the region included the Palestinian Water Authority, the Jordanian Ministry of Water & Irrigation, and the Israeli Water Commission and Hydrologic Service, as well as respective meteorological agencies.

USGS also facilitated cooperative projects on public awareness and water conservation that included publication of a textbook “Water” - in Arabic, Hebrew, and English - that was used in middle schools in the region, and design and construction of rain harvesting systems at two schools each in Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank. These projects included officials from government agencies as well as writers, educators, and students from all three Parties.

Multilateral water projects improved capabilities to manage a shared and scarce resource and provided opportunities for peaceful cooperation between neighbors. Although the participants and their respective governments have demonstrated cooperation under difficult circumstances, there remain many obstacles to improving management of transboundary water resources in the Middle East.