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The unique structure of the steering committee, comprised of not only NGO's and academic institutions, but also statutory bodies, will assure a plan that will be not only diverse and comprehensive, but also practical.

The Steering Committee plans to work closely with NGO's located in the Palestine Authority hoping to eventually set up a framework for collaborative integrated basin management between the two parties for a shared water resource.  There is no alternative to collective action when managing a shared international basin.  This was recognized by the EU Water Framework Directive, which requires water management on the basin scale regardless of political borders.  Nature, ecosystems and the intricate interaction between water, climate, soil, flora and fauna can only be protected by collective action.

 

This is not theoretical research, but an actual planning process, based on the successful model of the Yarqon River Master Plan in the Tel Aviv region, which converted the Yarqon River and its environs from an environmental nuisance into a beautiful recreational area. The bi-national team of professionals will use the skills developed in the Yarqon to create a Master Plan for the Kidron River/ Wadi Nar. The steering committee will guide a team of Israeli and Palestinian professionals who will act in concert to develop the Master Plan.

The team will consist of a plan coordinator, planners, hydrologists, engineers, archaeologists, ecologists, economists, jurists, sociologists, agronomists and public awareness specialists.  Additional experts will be brought in as needs change. The selection of the team members by the steering committee will  create a balanced, realistic and useable Plan. Regular meetings between the project team and the steering committee will develop lines of communication for project feedback. 

The major beneficiaries of the Master Plan are the Valley residents themselves, both the citizens of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the other towns in the region, as well as the region's Bedouin and the caretakers of the numerous monasteries and holy places in the Valley. Improved planning, proper land usage and modern infrastructure will convert the Kidron Valley/Wadi Nar from the back door of history to its rightful place as a showcase for residents and visitors alike.

When implemented, local farmers will benefit from effluent which, when treated sufficiently, can provide irrigation for crops and animals in an area with little freshwater resources and limited jobs.  Tourists, hikers and other visitors will benefit from the restoration of the natural beauty of the region, its cultural and historic sites, and from increased access.  Increased tourism will in turn create additional employment opportunities for the local population. Pilgrims will once again be afforded access to the world's most important religious icons and sites.

 

Description of the Master Plan and its Effectiveness

The Master Plan will present a number of possible scenarios based on current and expected land and water use and will detail how best to utilize the resources of the Valley while preserving its historic value. The experts have been asked to develop a scenario based on co-existence (the present situation), cooperation between Israel and the Palestine Authority and partnership. In order better to  understand the nature of the project, the experts will bring together local and regional stakeholders as well as planners and local authorities to discuss their visions of the Valley.  This joint effort will exemplify the ability of both parties to coexist and work together to solve mutual problems. 

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