Fred Pearce

Fred Pearce has been writing about water issues for over 20 years. He is the author of the book When the Rivers Run Dry.

Recent Articles

Grabbing the River Jordan

Online Extra: The World's First Water War.

In 1964, Israel hijacked the waters of the River Jordan. The Jordan Valley, a green desert strip that had been cultivated for longer than perhaps anywhere else on Earth, was overnight deprived of most of its water. One day the River Jordan poured out of Golan Heights, into the Sea of Galilee and on down the valley to the Dead Sea. The next day, an Israeli dam blocked the river's outflow from the Sea of Galilee. Instead, a pumping station lifted the water out of the sea and into a 10-foot-wide pipeline that delivered it along the length of Israel. Almost three years after Israel grabbed the waters of the Jordan, it fought the Six Day War with its Arab neighbors. Most histories of the war discuss its causes in terms of land and security. They often ignore water. Yet the simple fact is this: Prior to the 1967 war, less than a tenth of the River Jordan's basin was within Israeli borders; by the end, it was almost entirely controlled by Israel. A happy chance? Some say so. But in his...