Photo: Annette Huber-Lee / SEI

SEI co-created the Multi-Year Water Allocation System (MYWAS) as part of an effort to understand the benefits of cooperation – and losses of non-cooperation – around water allocations between Palestine, Jordan and Israel, starting in the mid-1990s. MYWAS permits the user to take account of the special nature of water by introducing water policies that reflect social values that go beyond private values (such as using water for environmental purposes or subsidizing water for farmers). MYWAS takes these inputs and calculates what allocation of water will maximize the present value of the system-wide net benefits. These consist of the gross benefits (measured by the areas under the different demand curves) less the costs. It should be noted that “efficient water management” does not only mean purely technical efficiency; it also means benefit-maximizing allocation of water flows.

Most importantly, MYWAS can be used to show the benefits of cooperation whether across national boundaries or sectors. Through this, it can open the possibility of dialogues in otherwise contentious conflicts around water.