23 June 1995

MULTILATERAL WORKING GROUP ON WATER DECIDES ON REGIONAL PROJECTS

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

The water committee in the framework of the multilateral talks concluded its discussions yesterday (Thursday), June 22, 1995, in Amman. For the first time, the Palestinians were represented by engineer Nabil Sharif, the Palestinian Authority Water Commissioner. The head of the Israeli delegation, former Agriculture Minister Avraham Katz-Oz, said in his opening speech that in the next decade, an annual average of $200 million will be needed for the establishment of projects and to supply water to the countries of the Middle East.

During the discussions, a number of joint projects, worth a total investment of approximately $50 million, were proposed: The United States and the European Union will invest approximately $2.5 million to establish a data bank for the Palestinians. Austria will invest approximately $3 million to equalize brackish water irrigation methods. The Netherlands is examining an investment of $7 million to build a dam in Nahal Besor/Wadi Aza, in order to enrich the Gaza Strip’s aquifer. A regional desalination center, worth $30 million, is being planned in Oman. The United States, Japan, and Israel will invest approximately $5 million to treat waste water in small communities, reduce water loss in municipal systems, and desalinate brackish water.