Drought-stricken Syria began sending 3.5 million cubic meters (122.5 million cubic feet) of water Sunday to its parched neighbor Jordan, the official Petra news agency said. The water was being pumped from the Basil al-Assad dam in southern Syria to the King Abdullah dam in Jordan via the Yarmouk river on the two countries' border.
Senior water ministry official Owadiss Sirkissian said the water is traveling to Jordan "at a rate of 600 liters (636 quarts) per second," and all of it will have arrived by October 21. The destination is the Jordanian capital, Amman, he added, quoted by Petra.
The new Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, agreed to supply the water to Jordan when King Abdullah II visited Damascus July 19.
In May 1999, Syria sent more than eight million cubic meters (280 million cubic feet) of potable water to Jordan to help it handle the higher summer demand for drinking water.
Jordan put an emergency plan into effect in the beginning of this May to combat the summer water shortage. The plan calls for water rationing and the emergency use of 42 wells, with a capacity of 30 million cubic meters (1.05 trillion cubic feet) of water, if needed.
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )