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The Potential for Enhanced Water Decoupling in the Jordan Basin through Regional Agricultural Best Practice

1
Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford, 64 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6PN, UK
2
West Asia North Africa (WANA) Institute, Royal Scientific Society, P.O. Box 1438, Ahmad Al-Tarawneh Street 70, Jubeiha, Amman 11941, Jordan
3
EcoPeace Middle East, 90 Begin Rd, Tel Aviv 67138, Israel
4
(formerly of) Louise Building, Ras Al Tahouneh St, Al Bireh, Palestine
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 March 2018 / Revised: 7 May 2018 / Accepted: 9 May 2018 / Published: 13 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arid Land Systems: Sciences and Societies)
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Abstract

This paper examines the differences in agricultural water application per crop ton output in semi-arid jurisdictions in the Jordan Basin, focusing on Israel and Jordan, with some analysis relevant to Palestine. In order to understand differences in water application, it delivers a nationally averaged assessment of applied water application for 14 key regional crops, with most cases suggesting Israeli best practice in water application per unit crop. The paper draws on a secondary assessment of agricultural water intensity and primary data from farmer interviews to demonstrate differences in applied water productivity and agricultural context. The analysis suggests a conservative estimate that a difference of 168 Million Cubic Meters (MCM)/yr (33% of agriculture and 18% of national total) exists in terms of water application for a given crop production in Jordan when compared with Israel. The paper then proposes further work required to establish how differences in water application might translate into differences in agricultural water productivity, and thereby potential water savings that might enable growth of production within current agricultural allocations, allowing new future resources to be allocated to other economic and social needs. The paper also delivers a preliminary analysis of the political and institutional landscape for implementation, assessing the challenges of institutional silos and overlap that some policy stakeholders see as hindering cross-sectoral progress. The paper concludes by examining the limitations of the analysis, and it proposes future work to deepen the robustness of results and examines some of the challenges facing improved agricultural water productivity and changing farm behaviour in the region. View Full-Text
Keywords: Jordan River Basin; water productivity; Jordan; Israel; Palestine; agriculture; agricultural water intensity; decoupling; water security; institutional change Jordan River Basin; water productivity; Jordan; Israel; Palestine; agriculture; agricultural water intensity; decoupling; water security; institutional change
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Gilmont, M.; Nassar, L.; Rayner, S.; Tal, N.; Harper, E.; Salem, H.S. The Potential for Enhanced Water Decoupling in the Jordan Basin through Regional Agricultural Best Practice. Land 2018, 7, 63.

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