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ANALYSIS OF THE CURRENT SITUATION REGARDING
THE MANAGEMENT OF WATER RESOURCES IN JORDAN
PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF THE CURRENT SITUATION REGARDING
THE MANAGEMENT OF BRACKISH WATER IN JORDAN
Jordan is a relatively small country with limited natural resources. The average population is about 6 million. The recent average population growth rate stands at about (2.8%). However, about (78%) of the population are located in urban areas concentrated in four governorates: Amman, Irbid, Zarqa and Balqa (Department of Statistics of Jordan, 2005).
The climate in Jordan is arid and semi arid with minimal rainfall and high percentage of evaporation. The climate is a mix of Mediterranean and dry desert climate. Jordan is divided into the following nine bioclimatic Mediterranean zones:
The expanding population and the climatic and topographical conditions of the country have exerted enormous pressure on the limited water resources and created a severe water supply-demand imbalance where the renewable water resources are among the lowest in the world, and is declining with time. Jordan is considered one of the poorest four countries in the world in water resources and falls below the water poverty line (1,000 m3/capita/year). In the year 2008 the renewable freshwater resources available per capita in Jordan were about 140 m3 /capita/year. By the year of 2025, the available per capita per year will be 90 m3 putting Jordan in the category of an absolute water shortage. (MoE, 2007); El-Naser, 2009). The per capita of water supply in Syria reaches 1,028 m3 and in Iraq reaches 2,172 m3. This shows the extent of water poverty in Jordan (ESCWA Report, 2006). The supply-demand imbalance has influenced the quality of water resources where over abstraction from groundwater aquifers exploited the aquifers at more than double their sustainable yield in the average. Due to population growth and increasing living standards in urban areas, it is expected that the total water demand will rise to 1647 MCM/year in 2020, compared to 1321 MCM/year in 2005. The Ministry of Water and Irrigation plans to partly satisfy the rising demand through increased wastewater reuse (Heinrich, 2004). In 2006, the major consumer of freshwater was the agricultural sector, using about 64%. The municipal share was 30% and the share of tourism and industries was 4% and 2%, respectively (WAJ, 2009). Since the main priority in Jordan is domestic water use, the share used for agricultural purposes is expected to decrease in the next decades (Heinrich, 2004).
The lack of water and meeting water demand will be one of the most serious challenges to Jordan’s future economic growth and managing water resources is, therefore, imperative and very important. Such situation will be worsened in the future by the fact that the population is expected to double by 2029 and the already low availability will be halved. There is an increasing and an urgent need for Jordan to conserve and protect water resources (Mohammad et al., 2003; Udluft and El-Naser, 1992; El-Naser, 2009).
WATER DEMANDS AND USES IN JORDAN
Jordanian rural communities suffer largely from lack of water. Securing clean water and sanitation for households, farms and small businesses present a daily challenge for them (Faruqi, 2004). The majority of Jordan population (95%) is connected by the sewer network. However, households in Jordan receive water once a week and in many occasions citizens are forced to buy water from tankers. Moreover, municipal water in Jordan is used by the domestic and commercial sectors, public institutions, as well as by small industries that are connected to the public water system. The municipal water requirements are determined by population growth, industrial development, urban concentration and income increase” (Jordan Environmental Watch 2007). Most citizens of the capital Amman receive water only once a week and average daily per capita use does not exceed 140 liters (WAJ Report, 2006).
The annual growth in demand for water in Jordan is estimated at 25 mm3/year (MWI, 2009). Water is mainly used for agriculture (63%). Water use in Jordan by user sector reflects that municipal water uses accounts for 290 MCM, industrial accounts for 38.5 MCM, irrigation accounts for 588 MCM, while livestock accounts for 8 MCM (AbdelKahleq, 2008).
The gab between supply and demand was unfortunately solved by the unsustainable practice of overdrawing highland aquifers, resulting in lowered water tables and declining water quality (Hadadin et al., 2009). The water deficit in Jordan is usually addressed by reducing and rationalizing the water use by the domestic and the agricultural sectors. In the most parts in Jordan the potable water supply is delivered to the residential area once a week at the best. (MoE, 2007). The demands and uses of water are far exceeding renewable supply. The deficit gab tends to expand as a result of continuous increase in population, increase in economical (agricultural, industrial and other sectors) growth and tourist. (MoE, 2007). Moreover, the amount of water from the renewable resources are continuously declining as a results of the over pumping of groundwater resulting in lowered water table in many basins and declining water quality as well (MoE, 2007).
The reallocation of water between competing sectors helps to reduce the consequences of water shortages for important sectors especially during dry seasons. In general, priority criterion for water allocation has to be based on economic, social and environmental considerations. It is recommended that the first priority of allocation of available resources is to users with purposes that are deemed to have high returns in economic and social terms such as for municipal, tourist and industrial sectors. Agricultural use has less priority and water is given to agriculture mainly to sustaining existing irrigated projects. In particular, trees irrigated from groundwater should continue to receive an amount sufficient for their sustainability with the use of advanced irrigation methods, for example drip irrigation. Also priority should be given to agricultural projects irrigated by reservoirs of water whose quality does not qualify for use in municipal and industrial purposes.
Given this difficult situation for water sector in Jordan, it is crucial therefore to development new water resources and to find ways of increasing water supply. Earlier studies have suggested ways to increase water supply in Jordan. These include desalination of seawater and brackish water, importation of water from neighboring countries, intensive water harvesting of the rainwater, and other alternatives from non conventional water resources. It should be noted however, that these ways are costly and some have geopolitical constraints (Haddadin and Tarawneh, 2007).
Parallel to these recommended programs it is essential to conduct public awareness programs at a national level to overcome the lack of understanding and to raise community understanding and support for water allocation among competing water use sectors. In addition, Jordan should consider the adoption of water tariffs should to attract private investment in water projects.
The MWI projected the future water demand and water supply in Jordan until 2022. Total supplies are estimated to increase from 933 MCM in 2010 to 1163 MCM in 2020 with out the Red-Dead Conveyance and 1663 with the Red-Dead Conveyance. The total water demand is estimated to increase from 1,496 MCM in 2010 to 1,673 MCM in 2020. The demand will increase mainly due to increased domestic and industrial demand. Significant features will be: the large increase in utilization of surface water from the Yarmouk River, the reductions that will be essential in the rate of groundwater extraction, the development of brackish and fossil groundwater resources, and the increasing significance of reclaimed wastewater.
The projections of the water balance for the next coming 10 years or so illustrate that:
Main water consumers, 2010
Table 1: Projection the water balance for the next ten years
Comparative Water Resources Availability in the Region
By the year 2025, if current trends continue, per capita water supply will fall to only 91 cubic meters, putting Jordan in the category of having an absolute water shortage. A comparison between Jordan's past and projected per capita supply with other countries in the region is shown in Table 2.
Table 2: Projected Per capita water supply for different countries
WATER RESOURCES JORDAN
The limited water resource in Jordan is one of the major problems facing the economic development, particularly the Agricultural Sector which is consuming the largest quantity of water. The total available water utilized in Jordan is provided from renewable groundwater and from surface water. Additional water resources include the water from the peace treaty water, treated wastewater, water from desalinization of brackish and seawater and groundwater from non renewable aquifers (Al-Jayyousi and Shatnawi, 1995; Haddadin and Tarawneh, 2007). The amount of water derived from surface and groundwater sources are used for agriculture sector (64.6%), for industrial purposes (4.6%) and for domestic purposes 30.8% (Bashaar, 2007).
Jordan’s renewable available water resources are estimated at 780 MCM/year, of which 505 MCM/year is surface water, and 275 MCM/year are groundwater resources (from the following basins: Yarmouk, Amman-Zarqa, Side Wadis, Jordan Valley, Dead Sea, Azraq, Hamad, Wadi Araba North, Wadi Araba South, and Wadi Sirhan) (Malkawi, 2003). Jordan's groundwater non-renewable water resources are located in the Jafr and Disi basins, and have an estimated safe yield of 140 MCM per annum. The volume of effluent from the different wastewater treatment plants was estimated to be about 100 MCM in the year of 2010 (MoE, 2007).
Water resources in Jordan are divided into two main categories: These are:
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