Water in the Middle East

Environment

These footage from the “Water’s Wars Series” (2004. non completed) explore different aspects of the water issues in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, in 2004

and in Egypt and Turkey in 2003.

Jordan

Amman

Water supply and sanitation in Jordan is characterized by severe  water scarcity, which has been exacerbated by forced immigration as a result of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the Six-Day War in 1967, the Gulf War of 1990, the Iraq War of 2003 and the Syrian Civil War since 2011. Jordan is considered as one of the ten most water scarce countries in the world. High population growth, the depletion of groundwater reserves and the impacts of climate change are likely to aggravate the situation in the future…

The overarching challenge is to sustain the human-natural system in the presence of rapid environmental and socioeconomic change. This interdisciplinary effort is aimed at developing a new approach to evaluate policies to enhance sustainability of freshwater resource systems. 


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Between a Rock and a Hard place
2004

Reel duration: 2′ 06″ 

 made in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation of  Jordan, the Royal Film Commission of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Suez Environment.

SUEZ is one of the world’s leading environmental service companies whose mission—the Resource Revolution—is to help societies shift to a sustainable relationship with the planet, where we conserve and optimize the use of our limited natural resources.

This reels were made possible thanks to   LEMA (a consortium of European and US firms affiliated with Suez Env) the Ministry of Water and Irrigation of  Jordan and the recently corporatized Aqaba Water Company (AWC), 

 

 

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Reel duration:  6′ 37″
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 Workers from the LEMA project repairing water leaks in the streets of Amman.
Desalination plant.
Water distribution and management through computerization.
 Water tankers for distribution.

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Reel duration: 17′ 28″ 
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 Interview with Hazem Nasser. Minister of Water and Irrigation ( 2004) of Jordan about water challenges Jordan face, the dead sea and the project of the Red Sea Dead Sea canal. 

The Disi Water Project (Jordan)

The Disi Water Conveyance Project is a  water supply project in Jordan. It is designed to pump 100,000,000  cubic meters  of water per year from the Disi aquifer, which lies beneath the desert in southern Jordan and northwestern Saudi Arabia. The water is piped to the capital, Amman, and other cities to meet increased demand. Construction began in 2009 and was mostly completed in July 2013 when the project was inaugurated by King Abdullah of Jordan.


It is planned to bridge the remaining gap between demand and supply through increased use of reclaimed water and desalinated sea water to be provided through the Red Sea-Dead Sea canal.

 

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Water in the Desert. 
Disi/ Wadi Rum ( Jordan)
Reel Duration: 12′ 39″
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An independent study revealed the water to be radioactive and potentially dangerous to drink, initially surrounding the project with controversy. Jordan’s Ministry of Water and Irrigation has stated that the radioactivity is not a problem because the water is to be diluted with an equal amount of water from other sources, although it remains disputed if this would be enough to bring the water up to standards.

The Bedouin,  ( Arabic بَدْو) are nomadic tribes  tribes who have historically inhabited the desert regions in the Levant, the Arabian peninsula , Iraq and north Africa.

 Bedouin territory stretches from the vast deserts of North Africa to the rocky sands of the  Middle East.
Thousands of years, camels played a vital role in the region.
They impacted all aspects of daily life in the desert. They were used for travel, food, and shelter. And they were also used for entertainment and competing during celebrations and events.
Camel racing is the ancient and most important traditional sport of the Bedouins around Jordan and the Arabian Peninsula

 

 

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Camel race. Water installation. Red Sea.
South Jordan.
Reel Duration: 12′ 39″
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The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea (Hebrewיָם הַמֶּלַח  Yam ha-Melah lit. Sea of Salt; Arabic: البحر الميت  Al-Bahr al-is a salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River.

The lake’s surface is 430.5 meters (1,412 ft) below sea level, making its shores the lowest land-based elevation on Earth. It is 304 m (997 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With a salinity of 342 g/kg, or 34.2% (in 2011), it is one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water – 9.6 times as salty as the ocean – and has a density of 1.24 kg/litre, which makes swimming similar to floating This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which plants and animals cannot flourish, hence its name.


These reels were shot on the Dead Sea from the Jordan side with the collaboration of the Royal Film commission

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Dead Sea # 1
Reel Duration: 7′ 28″
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Dead Sea # 2
Reel Duration: 6′ 20″
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Dead Sea # 3 
Reel Duration: 4′ 04″

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Dead Sea # 4 
Reel Duration: 7′ 30″

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The Red Sea Dead Sea Canal (The "Peace Canal")

The Red Sea–Dead Sea Conveyance (RSDSC), sometimes called the Two Seas Canal, or “the Canal of Peace” is a planned pipeline to run from the coastal city of Aqaba by the Red Sea to the Lisan area in the Dead Sea.
The decline of the Dead Sea level is causing major local environmental problems, including sinkholes and receding sea shores.

On the December, 9th 2013) Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority signed an agreement on laying a water pipeline to link the Red Sea with the Dead Sea in Washington DC, at the headquarters of the World Bank.
 Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom signed for Israel. Water and Irrigation Minister Hazem Al Nasser signed for Jordan. Water Authority Minister Dr. Shaddad Attili signed for the Palestinian Authority.

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Excerpt interview with Hazem Nasser
(about the “Dead Sea initiative project”)
Reel Duration: 5′ 29″

(Standart definition)

USAID in Jordan

For nearly 70 years, USAID has partnered with the Government of Jordan to strengthen the Kingdom’s water security by expanding and rehabilitating water supply systems, training hundreds of water experts, and building and renovating water networks and water and wastewater treatment plants.

Today, USAID continues this partnership by improving water and wastewater infrastructure, strengthening water governance, and promoting water conservation so that the people of Jordan have sustainable access to water in order to build strong, resilient communities.

 

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Interview with Mr Janfenskovich (in charge on USAID water operations in Jordan.)
Reel Duration: 17′ 09″
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Syria

Water’s issues in Northern and Central Syria.

2006 to 2010 was recorded as the worst multiyear drought in around 900 years. Decreased precipitation combined with rising temperatures resulted in desertification and devastation of agricultural land, particularly in eastern Syria.

 This human-induced climatic change was a contributory factor in the extreme drought experienced within Syria prior to its civil war; this drought in turn led to large-scale migration from rural areas to urban centers such as Damascus or Homs; and this migration in turn exacerbated the socio-economic stresses that underpinned Syria’s descent into war.

Northeastern  & Euphrates Basin
2004

Reel duration: 5′ 39″
Standart definition

This reel was shot in 2004 on the northeastern part of Syria around the towns of Hama and Aleppo and around Lac el Assad and the Tabda dam where the Euphrates flows.

 

Peasants and fields by the Euphrates
2004 

Reel duration: 6′ 55″
Standart definition

Water use in the Euphrates Basin in Iraq, Syria and Turkey focuses on irrigation, hydropower and drinking water supply, with agriculture consuming the largest share of water (more than 70%).

 

Orontes Valley. Central Syria 
2004 
Reel Duration: 9′ 00″
Standart definition
This reel was shot in the Orontes Valley in central Syria. 
Peasants are witnessing the decline of their water supplies with less rain fall and lower underground water.

Lebanon

South Lebanon

Waters Wars
From the Water’s Wars project 

South Lebanon
2004
Standart definition
These footage were made in collaboration of with the ministry of Water in Beirut.
The footage are only available upon request because of sensitive content.

 

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Egypt

OASES and White desert


Over two-thirds of Egypt is covered by the Western Desert. Beginning at the west bank of the Nile the desert stretches west to Libya and south to Sudan, forming part of the vast expanse of the Sahara Desert that stretches across North Africa to the Atlantic Ocean. The desert is nearly always bone dry, but it is actually not lacking in water.

Occasional rains fill huge underground aquifers beneath the desert, which occasionally break through to the surface. Just like along the Nile, water is the key to life here and where the water break through the surface thriving oases have formed around the springs. These isolated gardens in the desert have long supported substantial communities of people and substantial agricultural development as well as a culture unique from that of the Nile Valley.
Known as the Western Desert The south of the Libyan Desert in Egypt has the most important supply of subterranean water in the world through the Nubian Aquifer, and the first inhabitants of the Egyptian  Oases had access to surface water sources.

The essential problem is that the Western Desert’s high saline levels and the presence of underground aquifers in the area act as a major obstacle to any irrigation project. As the land is irrigated, the salt would mix with the aquifers and would reduce access to potable water

 

 

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Oasis 1
2004

Reel duration: 5′ 39″
Standart definition
Dakhla Oasis (Egyptian Arabicالداخلة  translates to the inner oasis, is one of the seven oases of Egypt‘s Western Desert. Dakhla Oasis lies in the New Valley Governorate, 350 km (220 mi.) from the Nile and between the oases of Farafra and Kharga.

 

 

Oasis 2
2004 

Reel duration: 6′ 55″
Standart definition
Due to its small size and isolated location in southern Egypt, El Farafra Oasis (“Fizzy Spring”) is only populated by 5000 people, mostly by Bedouins.
Some its inhabitants originate from the Nile Valley and came to the Farafra Oasis to work as farmers, and they are famous for practicing their old traditions and customs.

 

White desert. (Western Egypt/ Lybia)
2004 
Reel Duration: 8′ 11″
Standart definition

Sahara el Beyda, or the White Desert Protected Area, is a national park in Egypt, first established as a protected area in 2002. It is located in the Farafra depression, 45 km north of the town of Qsar El Farafra. Part of the park is in the Farafra Oasis in the New Valley Governorate.

The New Valley Project or Toshka Project consists of building a system of canals to carry water from Lake Nasser to irrigate part of the sandy wastes of the Western Desert of Egypt.  In 1997, the Egyptian government decided to develop a new valley (as opposed to the existing Nile Valley) where agricultural and industrial communities would develop. It has been an ambitious project which was meant to help Egypt cope with its rapidly growing population.

Lake Nasser (Aswan Dam)

Lake Nasser (Arabic: بحيرة ناصر Boħēret Nāṣer, )is a vast reservoir in southern Egypt and northern Sudan. It is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world.

The lake was created as a result of the construction of the Aswan High Dam across the waters of the Nile between 1958 and 1970.
Before construction, Sudan was against the building of Lake Nasser because it would encroach on land in the North, where the Nubian people lived. They would have to be resettled.

 In the end Nubian land was mostly flooded by the lake.

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Fishermen on Lake Nasser
Egypt
2004

Reel duration: 6′ 35″
Standart definition

Turkey

The Miracle of Water

“The Miracle of Water” is a 26′  film that I shot in the southwest of Turkey in 2003 in the GAP region of the Euphrates and Tigris (the region of the big dams).
It was prized at the “Festival de l’Eau” Festival of Water, in Paris, France in 2003 and in Montreal, Canada.

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