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The second Israeli-Palestinian Conference on Water for Life in the Middle East, which opened on Sunday, October 10 in Antalya, Turkey, with the participation of leading experts on water is tackling the issues of how to provide sufficient reliable fresh water supplies to residents of the region now and in the future, according to an article in the Jerusalem Post.
Conference participants are slated to discuss many issues relating to the scarcity of fresh water resources in the region and how to resolve the problems to the benefit of Israelis, Palestinians and neighboring countries.
The issue of dwindling resources was underlined by latest statistics from the Water Commissioners' Office (WCO), which showed that the water deficit in Israel has risen to nearly 1.5 billion cubic meters.
According to WCO spokesman Uri Schor, "The precipitation last winter was misleading because the bountiful rains fell in the North, which was good for Lake Kinneret, but not so much in central and southern parts where precipitation was below average." Schor added that the coastal and mountain aquifers are still severely depleted in the central and southern sectors.
"We are praying for rain this winter, but we hope that it will be dispersed according to need and that the central and southern districts, which experienced less-than-average precipitation last time, will be replenished this winter," Schor said.
The international conference is a follow-up to one held in Switzerland in December 1992 at which proposals were put forward for trying to resolve the problem of growing demand for water against dwindling natural resources, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Water resources could be the reason for conflict or cooperation and that the latter was the aim of the conference, noted the co-directors of the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information.