Heavy rain in Jordan helps water situations
The country's dams currently hold 21 per cent of their total capacity, after recent rainfall channelled around half-a-million cubic metres of water, a government official said on Sunday.
The major dams, excluding Wihdeh where storage is experimental, currently hold 46.5 million cubic metres (mcm) of their total capacity of 215mcm, Jordan Valley Authority (JVA) Secretary General, Saad Abu Hammour, said.
“Rain since Thursday channelled around 450,000 cubic metres of water into the major dams,” Abu Hammour told The Jordan Times.
The country’s major dams held 54mcm of their total capacity during the same period last year, according to official figures.
“The rain is failing to boost storage at the dams because we are constantly pumping water to farmers for the irrigation of orweh tishrineyeh [winter crops)]," Abu Hammour noted.
Orweh tishrineyeh is a local agricultural term that refers to the period between September and the end of the year during which farmers plant vegetables in the Jordan Valley. Different kinds of vegetables are cultivated during this period, including cucumber, tomato, eggplant and zucchini.
During orweh tishrineyeh, farmers also rely on rainwater for irrigating their crops; however, the JVA increases the amount of water allocated for irrigation when the rainfall comes late.
"We pump 500,000 cubic metres every day for winter crops in the Jordan Valley," Abu Hammour underscored.
Approximately 360,000 dunums in the Jordan Valley are cultivated and irrigated.
The Kingdom relies mainly on rainwater, but only 1.1 per cent of its total area receives an average of 400-600 millimetres of rain, according to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation.
Around 91 per cent of Jordan’s total area of 97,000 square kilometres is situated in arid areas with an annual rainfall average of 50-200 millimetres, while 2.9 per cent of the country’s land is categorised as semi-arid.