Jordan Plans to Revise Water Agreement with Syria
Jordan plans to discuss revising a 1987 water- sharing agreement with Syria during a visit by Jordan’s Water Minister Hatem Halawani to Damascus in a bid to secure the kingdom a higher flow of Yarmouk River water, reported the Jordan Times newspaper on Monday.
Experts have said a higher flow of Yarmouk water is essential to render the estimated JD146 million ($206m) joint Jordanian-Syrian Wihdeh Dam feasible.
The long-awaited dam project is expected to supply Jordan with an additional 110 million cubic meters of water annually and generate power for Syria, said the paper.
“The main concern of Jordan is that the timing of filling the Syrian dams and the future Wihdeh Dam will be harmonized. Currently, the Syrians fill their dams before letting Jordan take its water share. So right now, nearly nothing comes through to us,” a source at the water ministry said.
“A second important point is to stop the drilling of wells in the Yarmouk basin and limit agriculture there,” the source added.
An agreement concluded between Jordan and Syria to regulate the two countries' water rights in the Yarmouk River is said to be violated by Syria by exceeding the amount of water extracted from the river itself and by drilling wells alongside the river's banks further depleting the water source.
A recently reached agreement between Jordan and Syria to stop the allocation of Yarmouk River water to summer crops, will increase the flow of the water into Jordan by 8mcm, the paper added.
It is also expected that the topic of the number of dams on the Syrian side will be raised during the upcoming meeting.
According to water experts, Syria built at least 11 additional small dams on the Yarmouk after the 1987 agreement, which legalized 25 dams earlier built earlier by Syria without consulting Jordan – Albawaba.com
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