The Jordan River is considered a shared water resource between Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. Its waters have never been exploited based on the International Water Law because of Israel’s dominance over the shared water resources in the region as illustrated in Table 1. Until the 1950s, the Jordan River had an annual flow of 1,320 million cubic metres (MCM) discharging into the Dead Sea. Today only 50 MCM of highly saline water of a deteriorated quality ends up as surface water in the Dead Sea, due to Israel’s unilateral diversion of the Jordan River waters to the Negev and other diversion projects.
There is much concern that the level of the Dead Sea is dropping, due to the constant decrease of input from the Jordan River and increased use of other sources, such as natural springs, that supply water to the Dead Sea. The surface area of the Dead Sea has shrunk by about 30 percent in the past twenty years – a drop in water levels that translates to a rate of approximately 1 metre per year (Dead Sea Project, 2004).