Decoupling national water needs for national water supplies: insights and potential for countries in the Jordan Basin

Dr Michael Gilmont will present research which analyses and compares the water allocation and management experience of Jordan, Palestine and Israel using the lens of economic and resource decoupling to highlight past trends and future potential for jurisdictions in the region to circumvent limits on natural water resources.

Like most Middle East economies, Jordan and Palestine face extreme water scarcity and potential food insecurity. These conditions are increasingly seen as threats to human security and to the natural environment. Israel, which shares a similar geography, has adopted a combination of policy and technological interventions that have allowed it to largely overcome such pressures, become a leader in irrigated agricultural production and enjoy a version of sustainable water and food security.

In economic terms, Israel has been able to ‘decouple’ its economic and social water demands from its internal water resource availability. In terms of water productivity, Jordan likewise, has identified agricultural methods by which it achieves regionally unmatched levels of productivity for certain specific crops.

The extent to which these good practices — effective allocation and management of water resources, water ecosystem stewardship, and economic, social and environmental decoupling — can be transferred between these countries, as well as to other economies that share similar environmental endowments is the subject of this research.

About the speaker
Dr Michael Gilmont is a Research Fellow at the University of Oxford Environmental Change Institute (ECI), and a Research Associate of InSIS, applying interdisciplinary political, economic and hydrological approaches to analysing water resource development and use.

Michael completed his PhD at King’s College London on the politics of water reform and the processes of bridging often conflicting demands of social, economic/agricultural and environmental water needs in neoliberal political economies. The work focused on institutional and allocation reforms in California, Southeast Australia and Israel between 2000 and 2010. Michael maintains an active interest in water governance and policy reform processes. He holds a BA in Geography (Cambridge) and an MSc in Hydrology (Imperial College).