Economic growth and success depend on innovative and resourceful management of natural resources. In Israel and Palestine, among the world’s most arid regions, where high population growth strains natural resources, finding ways to cooperate around water quality and quantity issues is imperative. Cooperation is essential for public health and safety from untreated sewage and agricultural runoff and to meet everyone’s increasing needs for safe water.
Water quality and quantity depends on cooperation precisely because water flows without regard to political boundaries. Some joint management exists already between the Israelis and the Palestinians but it is not adequate to protect their shared waters. As elsewhere in the world, traditional theories of absolute territorial sovereignty and absolute territorial integrity will not effectively solve disputes over water use. Due to the complex and dynamic nature of water, more balanced concepts have emerged, including the concept of equitable utilization, which is based on the idea that while each state has a sovereign right over its water resources, it has to respect the correlative rights of other states.