While the Israeli-Palestinian (and Arab) peace process is mired in a complex political crisis, the region is now facing an even more daunting emergency as a result of dramatic hydrological changes. Groundwater extraction rates in the region's coastal and mountain aquifers are not sustainable. Climate change is expected to increase temperatures, reduce rainfall, raise sea level and generate more severe weather events. Seawater intrusion into the groundwater systems, which are critical to the basic needs of one half of the region's population, is also expected. As the hydrological system changes, population and economic growth will increase the demand for freshwater to meet basic needs, as well as water demand for food production and industry. This conference will bring together experts from various fields of scholarship, from the Middle East and the U.S., representing both the research and practitioner communities to provide a communication pathway where such interactions have not traditionally existed on a large scale. The goal is to clarify the challenges of the impending hydrological crisis from a physical and social context in order to encourage creative solutions and potential opportunities for cooperation that could foster peacebuilding in the region. The event will include screening of the documentary, "Last Call at the Oasis," which features activist Erin Brockovich and experts including Jay Famiglietti, professor of Earth system science, civil & environmental engineering, and director of the University of California Center for Hydrologic Modeling.

"Best Practices of Environmental Cooperation in the Middle East"
Academics, water specialists, entrepreneurs, and peacebuilding practitioners from the U.S. and the Middle East

November 10, 2012
5:00-6:45 p.m. Movie Screening and Q&A with Experts
7:00-10:00 p.m. Public Lecture
UC Irvine Beckman Center, 100 Academy Way, Irvine, CA

Presented by the Olive Tree Initiative in cooperation with the UCI Center for Citizen Peacebuilding, UC Irvine Environment Institute, Center for Unconventional Security Affairs and UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling.

To RSVP or for further information, please contact Daniel Wehrenfennig, 323.788.1603 or dwehrenf@uci.edu. For further information on the documentary, please visit

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