Water scarcity is the most important natural constraint to Jordan’s economic development. Rapid increases in population and industrial development have placed unprecedented demands on water resources. Total demand is approaching one billion cubic meters per year, which approximates the limit of Jordan’s renewable and economically developable water resources. For several years, renewable groundwater resources have been withdrawn at an unsustainable rate. Current water demands are not being met satisfactorily throughout the country (both spatially and temporally), and the costs of developing new water resources are rising rapidly.
Groundwater is the major water resource in Jordan; it is the only water resource in some areas within the country. 12 groundwater basins have been identified in Jordan. Most basins are comprised of several aquifer systems. About 80% of Jordan’s known groundwater reserves are contained in three main aquifer systems: (1) Amman/Wadi El Sir (B2/A7); (2) Basalt (Ba); and, (3) Ram). The long term average of the annual renewable available groundwater in Jordan is approximately 275 MCM/a
Most renewable groundwater resources presently are exploited to their maximum capacity. In some cases abstraction exceeds the safe yield of the aquifer. In recent years, over pumping has exceeded 200 MCM/a. Today, aquifers in 7 groundwater basins are being over pumped with abstractions ranging from 135 to 225% of the safe yields. In 4 basins abstractions equal the safe yield. Overexploitation of aquifers has and will contribute significantly to the degradation of groundwater quality and endangers the sustainability of these resources for future use.
The agricultural development in Jordan started in the early 1970s and nowadays around 70% of the abstracted groundwater is being used for irrigation. The increased agricultural land use brought about a deterioration of groundwater qualities in many areas through the application of fertilizers and pesticides. This is noticed chiefly by the increasing salinities caused by irrigation return flows, such as in the Azraq region, the Dhuleil-Hallabat region and the north-eastern desert, but also by continuous increases in the nitrate contents in groundwater. In order to protect and conserve Jordan's groundwater resources, measures of groundwater quality conservation need to be implemented. This could be achieved by protecting the sources for domestic water supply by establishing groundwater protection areas. Also watershed management and land development must take into consideration the requirements for groundwater protection.
Eng. Ali Subah
(MWI Project Coordinator)
Phone: +962 6 5652265
Fax : +962 6 5680075
Mobile: +962 77 295902