“Unprecedented” Water Crisis in Jordan, Officials Say

By Diogo Augusto

7 Oct 2022 by The Water Diplomat

As the hot, dry summer grows longer, Jordan’s main dams are now at levels below 15% and officials fear the consequences if the wet season is further delayed. Omar Salameh, a spokesperson for the Water Ministry of Jordan, said in a statement to Arab News: “This is unprecedented. Never in the history of Jordan has such a percentage been recorded.” The government official attributed the water scarcity crisis not just to a very long, hot and dry Summer and an overall very dry last two years, but also to high water consumption both in households and for irrigation.

According to Salameh, the country’s water reserves now sit at 43 million cubic metres. The combined capacity of Jordan’s 14 major dams is 336.4 million cubic meters. Under an existing agreement, Jordan had requested 30 million cubic metres of water from Syria but the request was refused by Syrian authorities which invoked their own irrigation needs and the instability in their southern territory.

The two countries signed the Yarmouk Water Agreement in 1987 under which the Al-Wehda dam would be built on the country’s border with Syria getting 75% of the generated electricity and Jordan getting full control over the water. However, Jordan has been accusing Syria of building reservoirs and implementing large agricultural projects which have been using up most of the water.

The Aqaba-Amman Water Desalination and Conveyance National Project, which promised to grant the country water stability until 2040, was announced in 2020, but the Jordanian government is still trying to secure funding to implement the project.