The historic Jordan River looms large in Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Hundreds of thousands of tourists travel annually to a small site on either side of the southern river, alleged to be the spot where John the Baptist christened Jesus.
There, just north of the Dead Sea, the river is little more than a creek – less than 10 meters wide and two meters deep. Modern miracles occur daily, as pilgrims emerge from full-body immersion apparently unharmed by a dip in the fetid pools.
Much of the river travels through a closed military zone. With public access prohibited, many are unaware that the river is drying up and that remaining water flow is of poor quality.
Now, mayors from 114 North American cities entered into an agreement to rehabilitate this endangered river halfway across the world.
Launched at the recent Water After Borders (WAB) summit in Chicago, the partnership brings expertise in transboundary water system management to the Jordan River, a waterway long embroiled in regional politics.