Praying For The Rain: Parched Jordan Faces Crisis Levels of Water

Published November 17th, 2021 - 01:38 GMT
A view of the reservoir of the Mujib Dam
This picture shows a view of the reservoir of the Mujib Dam, the main water supply to Amman, in Madaba governorate, Jordan, April 20, 2021. - Khalil Mazraawi/AFP via Getty Images

ALBAWABA - Jordan is worried about the lack of water in the Kingdom. To cap it all up is the late water season. But is it really late or the water problem has just persisted?

Everyone in Jordan and even the region is saying where is the water, although there is a problem there is also definitely a media hype. A report in the Saudi Arab News carried a report on the alarming low levels of water. "Amid a delay in rainfall, Jordan’s major dams are either completely empty or facing critically low water levels, putting the country on the verge of an unprecedented drought crisis should dry weather conditions persist." This is something that would surely set the alarm bells ringing.

There is surely symptoms of a water crisis that is manifesting itself in Asia and Africa with Jordan taking the brunt among the other countries in the  region. A report in alaraby news website is even more alarming stating six of Jordan's 17 water dams have completely dried up while another the King Talal Dam is only two weeks from becoming completely parched. That can't be good news for a country without water has much affect on the issue of desertification.

One blogger named Nick Higham, a specialist on London water and an ex-BBC journalist gives a more radical view of the water crisis. He says the water crisis is the result of drought (although it would have been obvious that it is lack of water that causes drought) "over-consumption, mismanagement, war, political division, pollution in (among many other places) in South California, Syria, Egypt, Israel/Palestine/Jordan, Cape Town, the Gulf, the Sahel etc etc."

Of the water crisis in Jordan, Maha Al-Zu'bi, a water expert and a consultant on finding water solutions for the agricultural sector, said it is heartbreaking to see the dams completely drying up of water. 

She pointed out that this year its one of the most severe for Jordan and that innovative solutions and management systems are needed for the future to combat such kind of crises. 

Adnan Khaddam, head of the Jordan Valley Farmers’ Union is very upset at the situation. He accuses the government of not prioritising water as a policy issue adding Jordan has “passed the solutions stage, despite the many warnings farmers had previously given on the issue.”

The Jordan Meteorological Department stated that by mid-November this year, the rain volume has not exceeded 18 percent compared to the average rainfall in this time of year according to a Jordan Times report.

All regions of the Kingdom, except for Tafileh and Karak, are suffering from this severe rain shortage, according to the forecaster, the Jordan English daily added.

But the government is seeking to play down the crisis. Water Ministry Spokesperson Omar Salameh said it is “too early” to predict anything about rainfall in the Kingdom.

“The winter season in Jordan usually starts by the end of November and continues until March. We used to have little rainfall during November but nothing significant. Therefore, we cannot evaluate the rainy season at the moment,” he told The Jordan Times.

Salameh emphasised the climate change’s impact on the Kingdom, noting that the rainy season last year only recorded modest amounts, which did not exceed 60 per cent of the average annual precipitation.

As a result of the weak rainy season, water storage in dams is 80 million cubic metres lower than previous years and he recognised that  “dams are currently at their lowest storage levels.” 

“Dams depend heavily on rain, as we do not have running rivers in Jordan. The government has a set of action plans to secure drinking water first and then agricultural water, such as finding alternative sources of water by digging wells and implementing the national water carrier project,” Salameh added.

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