One of the most pressing security and development challenges faced by Jordan and other states in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is freshwater scarcity. Jordan, like all but two states in the region (Turkey and Iran), does not have access to sufficient amounts of renewable freshwater. International conflicts, in the forms of disagreements, disputes and violent conflict over this resource have emerged as very real aspects of the international relations of this region. Cooperation between states over shared resources has also emerged, however, and this paper seeks to explore the prospects for further cooperation by considering the importance of interdependence and international institutions in relation to freshwater scarcity issues in Jordan's relations with Israel and Syria. Drawing upon theories of resource scarcity and institutionalism this paper explores if levels of economic interdependence and engagement in international institutions have impacted bilateral cooperation between Jordan and its neighbours. Jordan represents a good case study in order to better understand the issue of freshwater scarcity, conflict and cooperation for other states in the region. By examining two key international projects (the Jordanian-Syrian project to build the Wehdeh Dam on the Yarmouk River and the Jordanian-Israeli(-Palestinian) project to build the Red Sea-Dead Sea Conduit project on their shared border) this paper finds that levels of bilateral economic interdependence and institutional engagement can impact the potential for bilateral cooperation in the management of shared freshwater sources.
Freshwater Scarcity, Institutionalism, Interdependence, Jordan, Israel, Syria