Jordan protests Syrian ”violations” of water-sharing agreements
Jordan has sent a letter to Syria objecting to the cultivation of crops upstream and downstream on the Yarmouk River. According to a report published by Jordan Times on Sunday, the Jordanian side believes the farming activity is slowing the river's water flow and storage at Wihdeh Dam.
During a meeting of a technical subcommittee affiliated with the Jordanian-Syrian Committee of the Yarmouk River Basin, Jordan Valley Authority Secretary General Musa Jamaani told the Syrian envoys that violations of water-sharing agreements were "unacceptable."
Under agreements signed between the two sides, Syria's share of water from the Wihdeh Dam, which is built on the Yarmouk River, is six million cubic metres (mcm) for agricultural purposes, provided that the dam reaches its full capacity of 110mcm. But for the first time since its construction two years ago, the dam currently holds only 18mcm, and thus Syria's share falls to just 1mcm. "Syria, however, is pumping more than its allocated share to water crops planted all the way from downstream of Wihdeh Dam to Al Raqqad Valley located on the banks of the Yarmouk River," a Jordanian water official was quoted as saying.
"Syria should know that Jordan's priority is providing water for drinking. We are cutting farmers' supplies of water by up to 50 per cent so that we can supply people with water to drink," Jamaani told The Jordan Times. According to him, Syria's cultivation of summer crops on the banks of the Yarmouk River is consuming Jordan's water share and slowing the river's flow.