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The Role Of Taxation Policy In Integrated Water Resources Management (case Of Euphrates & Tigris Rivers)

Congress: 2015
Author(s): OUS HAIDAR
Damascus University1

Keyword(s): Sub-theme 15: Water law,
AbstractIntroduction: Euphrates and Tigris Rivers Basins are known as one of the most heated areas in the world. Whereas, the wars are almost nonstop -regardless the type of the war (civil wars or wars between two or more countries) - This situation can be explained by the variety of natural resources and the interests of the world's great powers in them. Thus, the water is known as one of these resources but it is not plentiful enough to attract those superpowers. Therefore, the water conflicts that occur have always been solved mostly among the countries in this region. Unfortunately, those water conflicts now are subject to cause a water war if those countries do not work seriously on an effective and a sustainable solution, because of the critical situation and the difficulty of finding such a solution considering the fact of political dependencies complexesand the obstacles of overlapping interests. On the other hand, there is an ability to create an economic system which can bring all the interests of those countries together and lead to establish efficient solutions depending on the principle of water benefits share which is totally based on an economic view.

Methods and Results: The current and the foreseeable trends indicate that future's water problems will continue to be more complex and more intertwined with other developing sectors like agriculture, energy, industry, transportation, communication and with social sectors like education, environment, health, and rural or regional development. The time is fast approaching when water can no longer be viewed in isolation by one institution or any one group of professionals without explicit and simultaneous consideration of other related sectors and issues and vice versa. In fact, it can be successfully argued that the time has already come when water policies and major water-related issues should be assessed, analyzed, reviewed, and resolved within an overall societal and development context; otherwise the main objectives of water management, such as improved standard and quality of life of the people, poverty alleviation, regional and equitable income distribution, and environmental conservation cannot be achieved. One of the main questions facing the water profession is how this challenge can be successfully answered in a socially-acceptable and economically-efficient manner (Biswas, 2008).

The obstacles which prevent the solution based on the integrated water resources management between the riparian counties are: 1. The differences of the legal views between the riparians, while Turkey considers Euphrates & Tigris Rivers as one basin, Iraq and Syria insist that both of the rivers form two separated basins. 2. Also Turkey doesn't consider the rivers as international rivers but it calls them Transboundary Rivers which makes a big difference according to Syrian and Iraqi views, whereas both (Syria and Iraq) signed the 1997 convention. 3. The three main riparian countries are parts of many bilateral agreements between each other, while there is no coordination between those agreements. 4. The differences of political views and political dependencies between the riparians affect deeply the relationships between the governments which cause the difficulty of reaching any effective solution. 5. The Syrian Crisis which has made the solution as an impossible step for the last 4 years, and probably for the next several years. This crisis threats the region to be under the risk of high level of scarcity. Especially after the reports which talked about cutting the water of Euphrates River by the Turkish side. The human right to access clean water and sanitation at affordable prices must be recognized, but the scarcity of water demands that economic perspectives should not be ignored. In conditions where water is especially limiting, where supply augmentation is not a feasible option, economic tools should play a larger role in determining how limited water resources should be distributed efficiently and equitably. Managing water as an economic good is also a key to achieving financial sustainability of water service provision, by making sure that water is priced at levels that ensure full cost recovery (Xie, 2006).

Conclusion: The paper intends to clarify the role of the taxation coordination to support the economic solution to reach to a fully IWRM implementation among the riparian countries in E-T Region. In regards to the European experience in the Danube River and the harmonization they reach in the environmental taxation policies, a common environmental taxation policy can be established in this region to achieve sufficient financial support for a sustainable water benefits share and subsequently an efficient situation of water usage among the riparian states. Environmental taxes, energy generating taxes and environmental value added taxes can be implemented simultaneously as an initial start for the complete and integrated solution. 1. Xie, M. (2006) Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) - Introduction to Principles and Practices, World Bank Institute (WBI).

2. Biswas, A. K., (2008). Water as a Human Right in the MENA Region: Challenges and Opportunities, Available at: http:// http://web.idrc.ca/es/ev-127188- 201-1-DO_TOPIC.html

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