Irrigation has always been a major problem for the Middle Eastern countries. Water is far?
Irrigation has always been a major problem for the Middle Eastern countries. Water is far more important to farmers and wandering herdsmen than the multi-million dollar revenue from oil. Desalination is one source of water but the main supply comes from rivers. Jordan and Israel have made use of the Jordan Valley's river sources without letting their political differences interfere.
SYNOPSIS: The Yarmuk River has its source in the mountains of northern Jordan. In spring, the snow on the mountain tops melt and swells the river as it flows down into the Jordan Valley. The Israelis have been planning for some years to divert the extra water from the Yarmuk into the Sea of Galilee for use during summer months. The area is very picturesque and many Israeli tourists come to look across the river gorge to the Jordanian village of Mukheiba on the other side.
Barbed wire is a reminder of the political tension that exists between Israel and Jordan but does not reflect the unwritten agreement on the use of the Jordan Valley's waters. The later Dwight Eisenhower, as President of the United States, sent an envoy to the Middle East to discuss proposals for the development of the valley. Mr.Eric Johnston, the envoy, proposed that two new hydro-electric dams be built to help irrigation and also provide land for some of the Arabs who were displaced with the creation of the Israeli state.
It was also proposed that Israel get use of one-third of available waters and the remaining two-third be divided between its Arab neighbours. Jordan rejected the scheme at the time but has in fact kept to its plans.
The main Israeli power station in the area has been at Naharayim. But Israel has added two new pumps to its equipment along the Yarmuk this month. These water from the river across into Israel and then on to the Sea of Galilee. The Israeli national water company - Mekorot - then makes use of the water to irrigate the parched lands of southern Israel. Officials of Mekorot say that if Israel did not make use of the yarmuk's water it would simply flow into the Dead Sea and be wasted. The extra water in the Sea of Galilee will help relieve those problems Israeli farmers have faced each summer.