The role of groundwater in water allocation along the Jordan river basin

Rola Quba'a, Mutasem El-Fadel, Ibrahim Alameddine, Majdi Abou Najm

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Water allocation along transboundary rivers invariably ignores the contribution of groundwater in the allocation process of shared water resources. This paper presents a first effort at examining the impact of groundwater on water allocation along the Jordan River Basin (JRB). The sensitivity of allocation is quantified through the assessment of scenarios that use weight factors commonly advocated towards equitable water allocation. In the absence of established quantification of groundwater resources, the study derived estimates groundwater safe yield within the basin. It then attempted to quantify international water law factors to evaluate reasonable shares for the basin's riparian countries by accounting for both surface and ground water resources. While existing water allocation patterns in the basin are still skewed compared to allocations based on international water law, consideration of groundwater usage is perceived to provide more realistic presentation of water quantities available for integrated river basin management as an ultimate goal of potential water agreements. We argue that relying on surface water abstractions only can bias perceived inequities by riparians and that consideration that both ground and surface water abstractions provide a more realistic basis. Agreements over transboundary water necessitate the improvement of groundwater characterization and the development of a clear understanding of this resource including potential lateral flows and interconnectedness between aquifers within the basin.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)97-108
    Number of pages12
    JournalWIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment
    StatePublished - 2017


    • Groundwater resources
    • Jordan river
    • Transboundary water


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