A non-partisan, neutral perspective supporting diversity in the color of water

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Good Water Neighbors

I was invited to participate in two conferences in the Middle East over the past week. The first was sponsored by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) in Amman, Jordan. The focus of the seminar was on the Transboundary Water Planning in the Lower Jordan River Basin. The Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME), the Global Nature Fund and SIWI sponsored the seminar to review the initial work of RoyalHaskoningDHV, a Dutch consulting firm to draft the FoEME Master Plan. Chatham House Rule applied, so not much else will be said except that about 100 people were invited from across the world and high level representatives from Israel, Jordan, and Palestine were onhand to participate in presentations and a World Cafe. FoEME shared a newly published document titled "Take Me Over the Jordan - Concept Document to Rehabilitate, Promote Prosperity, and Help Bring Peace to the Lower Jordan River Valley", but it is so new that it has not been posted on their website yet. Check back for this document as it is a summary of the heroic efforts underway in the region.

One of the highlights of the meeting was a song composed and performed by the youth of the Good Water Neighbors Project. Thanks go to Dana Mohammad, Regional Management Coordinator for FoEME, who is also a computer engineer with an MBA in her spare time, for sending me the link to this great video that was shown at both meetings.  

What made this conference unique in many respects was the effort at going to the field to see the projects that have been completed by FoEME. Consider the region and it should come as no surprise that border crossings and security made this an extraordinary challenge, but well worth the effort. Again, thanks go to the organizers and the high level dignitaries for taking time from their busy schedules to visit two ecoparks and the proposed Peace Island. The locations are shown on the map. This posting described the Auja ecopark. This blog posting by a FoEME intern does a great job of describing the Sharhabil-Bin Hassan ecopark. Here is some information on the Peace Park that we visited (photos and videos were not allowed due to proximity to Israeli-Jordanian border). Not shown is a new jointly-proposed Israeli-Palestinian ecopark.
For those inclined to *see* things in three dimensions, here is a geologic map and cross section of the area. Note the location of Jericho to get oriented.

The second part of the conference was held in Jericho, Palestine. This is the oldest continously inhabited city in the world, advertised as over 10,000 years old. Approximately 250 people from across the region and globe attended this two day conference celebrating 10 years of the Good Water Neighbors Project. It was reportedly the first large water conference hosted by the Palestinians, and it was first class, being held at the Jericho Intercontinental Hotel.

And the connection to greywater? Well, all of the ecoparks we visited actively reuse greywater. But the real bonus is that the Palestinian Director of FoEME, Mr. Nader Khateb, developed this great greywater manual. The Rainbow Water Coalition was honored to participate in these very important meetings, and to visit the cradle of greywater greatness.
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For Mira: 
The qualities I most admire in women are confidence and kindness. 
~ Oscar de la Renta

1 comment:

  1. Todd, it was a pleasure to meet you at the conference! I'm glad you had an interesting time, and hope that next time we meet, we might be able to converse in colloquial Jordanian Arabic instead!