Yousef is 17 year-old and lives in the Lower Jordan River Valley. Yousef doesn’t have water at home every day, but only for three hours, once a week. Even if the Jordan River flows less than 200 meters from his home, Yousef has never seen the river since it is a military zone. Therefore, he perfectly knows that he doesn’t have water at home and he is aware of the presence of a river nearby, but he doesn’t understand why he can’t have water every day.
The Lower Jordan River, border between Jordan and Israel, has lost 98% of its volume in the last 50 years because of the diversion of its water resources. The remaining 2% is highly polluted and because of climate change the river is likely to disappear within this century.
For the water resources of the Jordan River, many tensions raised in the last decades between Jordanians, Palestinians, Israelis, Lebanese, and Syrians and some of the wars in the area had the water issue as one of the main causes. However, local NGOs are supporting transborder cooperation between the local communities of the Lower Jordan River Valley, building trust and a dialogue among them, as first step towards a regional peace.
The most interesting initiatives in that way are the Youth Programs that aim at letting young Palestinians, Israelis, and Jordanians to meet, to know each other, to talk about their problems linked to the degradation of the environment, and to share the best practices adopted in their villages.
Yousef has participated in this program, and he has understood that the water scarcity is a common problem of the communities living on both sides of the river and that young people have to act now to save the river and the water resources of the valley.
Yousef, as well as the other students involved in this program and coming from other Jordanian, Israeli, and Palestinian villages, is trying to change his style-life and the mentality of people living around him. Yousef and the other students have introduced in their schools water saving systems (toilets, irrigation of the gardens) and the culture of recycling. In other words, they are adopting environmentally friendly style-life in order to help their river, their valley, and their future.