The Stream, November 18, 2021: Israel and Jordan Reach Water-and-Energy Sharing Agreement


  • In the United States, a new report offers recommendations on expanding Native Americans’ access to drinking water.
  • A dam in Queensland, Australia overflowed earlier this week, renewing neighboring landowners’ calls to expand its capacity.
  • Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection is moving forward with a rule that would limit PFAS “forever chemicals” in drinking water.
  • After months of negotiations, Israel and Jordan will sign a water-for-energy agreement.

Intensive agriculture in Spain has led to extreme overexploitation of groundwater in the country’s arid south.

“The farmers are digging their own graves.”—Miguel Ángel Sánchez, a spokesperson for the Platform in Defence of the Tagus. The Las Tablas de Daimiel wetland was once a flourishing 50,000-acre system. In the 1970s, the Spanish government decided to irrigate portions of the country’s arid southwest using water from the Guadiana river, which feeds Las Tablas. Now, just a fraction of the wetland remains; and even this is gradually becoming a cracked, dry landscape, the Guardian reports.


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HotSpots H2O: In Afghanistan, Political Upheaval Aggravates Drought-Fueled Famine – Well before Afghanistan’s political upheaval this summer, drought was pushing the country to the brink of a food crisis. Now, a whirlwind of risk factors are accelerating the country’s decline into an all-out famine.

New Report Addresses Native Access to Drinking Water

A new report offers recommendations to the Biden administration on how best to use a recent influx of federal funds to expand access to clean water for Native Americans. The infrastructure bill that President Biden signed this week provides $3.5 billion for sanitation facilities on tribal lands, $2.5 billion for tribal water rights settlements, and $250 million for drinking water projects on tribal lands in the western states. To maximize this opportunity, the report argues, federal agencies need better coordination while also updating their eligibility guidelines to ensure broad use of funds. The report is a product of the Water and Tribes Initiative, a group of tribal leaders, water experts, and nonprofit organizations.



The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board has advanced a new rule that would place stricter limits on PFAS, a group of contaminants known as “forever chemicals,” in the state’s drinking water. Federal guidelines are currently set at 70 parts per trillion. Under the proposal, PFOA and PFOS—two of the most common chemicals in the group—would be limited to 14 and 18 parts per trillion, respectively.


Two years ago, the state government decided to lower the walls of the Paradise Dam in Queensland, Australia by about 6 meters to improve its stability. Now, 5,500 Olympic swimming pools worth of water have overflowed its walls, inundating surrounding farmland and trapping residents in their homes. The flooding has renewed landowners’ calls to expand the dam to its original capacity.


After months of negotiations, Jordan and Israel have announced plans to sign a water-for-energy pact next week. Under the agreement, Israel will buy solar energy from Jordan. In return, Jordan will receive more desalinated water from Israel, Bloomberg reports.

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