Rivers of Eden

The Struggle for Water and the Quest for Peace in the Middle East

Posted: 18 January 2001

Author: Daniel Hillel
Oxford University Press
Oxford, New York, 1994
US$30

Conflicts over water are raging between Turkey and Iraq and Syria over the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and between Israel, Jordan and Palestine and Syria over the Jordan River. This informative, profound and objective book takes readers back to ancient Middle Eastern civilization to trace the present, the history and current status of river use in the region.

book coverIt is a masterful combination of comprehensible explanation of technical river management with the convoluted political and economic struggles. The potential for multinational co-operative river development is clearly presented as well as waste of previous water. Options such as waste water treatment, Dead Sea canals and pipelines, and desalination and conservation are lucidly examined.

The conclusions are optimistic based on solid, in depth analysis. Thus, for Israel, Jordan, and Palestine "the erstwhile rivals must achieve a compromise that will ensure the equitable sharing of all available groundwaters and surface waters, while strictly protecting their quality and sustainable yields, as well as their efficient utilization."

An invaluable book for understanding the history, current status, and future prospects for water use in the region.

Reviewer: Aaron Segal