Water Security in the Middle East Published

January 26, 2017

“Water Security in the Middle East is a timely and optimistic contribution to the literature, otherwise known to have a pessimistic view on water scarcity and its consequences […] The book provides new, untapped evidence of what may constitute an arsenal of tools for water diplomacy to be employed by researchers and practitioners dealing with water scarcity and security.”
Ariel Dinar, Professor of Environmental Economics and Policy, School of Public Policy, University of California, Riverside, USA

“In no part of the world is resolving regional hydropolitics as critical as in the arid and hostile Middle East, where lives, livelihoods and environmental health all rely on solutions to these seemingly intractable problems. This collection of the best thinking in the academy […] offers the intellectual depth and interdisciplinary breadth to help move these conversations forward in a tangible way. The book is ‘pracademic’ in the best sense, drawing on the objective analytical tools of the university, while rooting the work in the intracies and passions of the very real world.”

Aaron Wolf, Professor of Geography and Director, Program in Water Conflict Management and Transformation, Oregon State University, USA

“As the importance of water grows worldwide, the search for narrowing gaps of science and policy also grows. But narrowing the gap has only sporadically included social sciences and other humanities. Water Security in the Middle East sets a path to showing how these underutilized disciplines help narrow the gap. […] The authors focus on the Middle East, which is a region with enormous resource and other social constraints on water [and] has seen such constraints transform into opportunities. The Middle East is also a region that has witnessed the power of water to be a venue of dialogue and to build cooperation. The book shines light on water’s historical role as humanity’s learning ground for building community far more than as a generator of conflict.” —Jerome Delli Priscoli, Chair, Global Water Partnership Technical Committee, and Editor in Chief, Water Policy

Water Security in the Middle East explores the extent and nature of water security problems in transboundary water systems in the Middle East. This collection of essays discusses the political and scientific contexts and the limitations of cooperation in water security.

The contributors argue that while conflicts over transboundary water systems in the Middle East do occur, they tend not to be violent nor have they ever been the primary cause of a war in this region. The authors place water disputes in larger political, historical and scientific contexts and discuss how the humanities and social sciences could contribute more towards this understanding. They also contend that international sharing of scientific and technological advances can significantly increase access to water and improve water quality. While scientific advances can and should increase adaptability to changing environmental conditions, especially climate change, national institutional reform and the strengthening of joint commissions are vital. The contributors indicate ways in which transboundary cooperation may move from simple and intermittent coordination to sophisticated, adaptive and equitable modes of water management.

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