Jordan, reliant on Israel for water, has obtained additional supplies from the Jewish state ahead of an expected severe drought, a development Israeli media reported was spurred by US pressure.
“We have... obtained from Israel an additional quantity of eight million cubic meters” of water, after several weeks of waiting, Omar Salameh, a spokesman for the Jordanian government’s water and irrigation ministry, told AFP.
Salameh said that sufficient water supply from Israel was Jordan’s “right, in accordance with the peace agreement” between the two countries reached in 1994.
Israeli media has reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had sought to postpone delivery of additional water in retaliation for Jordan last month stalling permission for him to overfly the country en route to the United Arab Emirates.
It reported that Jordan’s request was therefore only satisfied after the US, an ally of both countries, exerted pressure on the Jewish state.
The bilateral peace agreement guarantees Jordan “55 million cubic meters of water annually” free of charge, he said. “As a general rule, in difficult years we request supplementary water, which they (Israel) agree to.”
Jordan has to pay a fee of $0.40 per cubic meter of additional water, according to Israeli media.
“The rainy season this year has been very poor,” Salameh said. “As a result... the kingdom faces a shortfall of between 10 and 15 million cubic meters.”
An Israeli official confirmed Jordan had been granted the supplementary water it asked for, but said that Israel provides 65 million cubic meters normally, and that the surplus provided this year is three million cubic meters.
Jordan’s water and irrigation ministry classifies the country as the third most “water poor” in the world.