Israel manages its water scarcity by a relatively unique combination of quantitative and pricing tools. As a semiarid climate country, efficient water pricing might prove to have much more potential welfare implications. The chapter contains a summary of the theoretical background of the different water pricing policies and reforms that have been recently implemented. The summary will then be accompanied by an effort to explain the rationale of the reforms. The chapter covers water pricing schemes in the various sectors and links them into one consistent policy vision. Currently, water pricing in Israel is more closely connected to the true scarcity value of this natural resource. Yet the goals and targets faced by water planners in Israel do not allow water prices to be the only allocation mechanism, and as such, a mixture of quantities and prices will be explored. The challenges faced now by the water regulators are new and contain pricing of different water sources (treated wastewater, desalinated water, etc.) for a variety of uses, including those that are characterized as nonmarket in nature (e.g., in-stream value) and those that should be based on basin cooperation among different countries (e.g., the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, and, potentially, Syria and Lebanon in the future).
Ward, Frank A., and Nir Becker. “Economic Cost of Water Deliveries for Peace and the Environment in Israel: An Integrated Water Resources Management Approach.” Water Resources Research (early view; online first).
This paper presents a framework for discovering an economically viable water sharing plan among neighboring communities for promoting peace and environmental protection. Its application is to the Middle East in which Israel may be facing water supply obligations to address environmental requirements and for a possible a peace agreement with its Palestinian neighbors. The framework consists of integrating external factors, constraints, policy instruments, and targets. Our findings from a constrained optimization analysis of Israel’s national water system show that the costs of increased deliveries are dependent on two major issues: (1) achieving integrated water resources management (IWRM) in which efficient combinations of expansion from several supply sources and reductions in demands occur over time, and (2) the cost of desalination technologies. We identify a $US 1.46 billion price tag, in present value terms, from using integrated management of demand reduction and supply expansion under current desalination costs. Adjustment costs will decline both with anticipated reductions in desalination costs and with an efficient implementation of IWRM. These adjustments can contribute to moderating regional tensions and protecting key ecological assets while addressing water scarcity in a volatile corner of the world.
When conflictive viewpoints are discursively strengthened, they develop into a ‘conflict discourse’ with a specific discursive structure which perpetuates conflict, like the discursive securitisation of an issue for varying audiences. When they are weakened, however, societal discourse can potentially change so that agreement becomes possible again, thus achieving discursive conflict transformation. This article analyses the Israeli and the Palestinian water discourse. On both sides, the dominant discourse structures underscore the conflictive issues regarding the distribution of water between Israelis and Palestinians, thus making communication, let alone negotiation, downright impossible. While Palestinians regard the natural water resources as sufficient in principle and the existing scarcity as entirely politically induced, Israelis perceive the natural water resources as absolutely scarce while receiving major de-securitisation impulses from the possibility of desalination. In the respective (minor) counter-discourses, however, possible starting points for dialogue and conflict resolution are visible.