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24 Sep

Water shortage in Jordan

Jordan is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world, which has a negative impact on all aspects of life, and on the important sectors that affect the lives of citizens directly, especially as water is a major and important element, which is indispensable in both agriculture and industry.

Many factors contribute to the low per capita annual water share in Jordan, estimated at less than 150 cubic meters, the most prominent of which is the increasing pressure on water as a result of the large population growth rate whether it’s because of  the political status in the surrounding regions, not to mention the large expansion in the various economic activities that need a large amounts of water.

Water resources in Jordan

There are many sources of water in Jordan, such as rainwater, groundwater, surface water, and other sources such as wastewater, desalinated water.


Rain is an important source of water in Jordan, and the percentage of rainfall varies from region to region, where the amount of cumulative rainfall in the eastern part of the Kingdom about 600 million cubic meters during the year, while less rainfall in the direction of desert areas in the southeast The Kingdom has reached a rainfall of about 10 mm, and towards the high areas in the northwestern part of the Kingdom we find that the amount of rain rises to 500 mm. According to 2006/2007 statistics, the total rainfall amounted to approximately 7683 million cubic meters.

Surface water:

The surface water in Jordan is represented by the current valleys, springs, and flood waters formed during the winter.

The amount of surface water in the early nineties of the twentieth century is about 677 million cubic meters, and this amount has risen to about 840 million Most of Jordan’s surface water is concentrated inside the Yarmouk River, which holds about 495 million cubic meters of water.

One dam is planned on this river, one near the entrance to the King Abdullah Canal and the other at the upper reaches of the river. However, this was not achieved due to political circumstances. The second source of surface water is the Zarqa River, which contains the King Talal Dam with a capacity of 90 million cubic meters. The water is used to irrigate crops on farms near the river. The competent authorities in Jordan also worked on the construction of 5 dams in the Jordan Valley with a capacity of 104.8 million cubic meters, in addition to the construction of 14 dams in the high desert areas.


Among the different sources of water, groundwater is the main source of water in Jordan. It is characterized by a medium flow, with a combined capacity of approximately 277 million cubic meters of water.In the southern region of Jordan, there is a group of non-renewable water basins that contain water collected in the depths of ancient geological times, and no other water has since leaked, and specialized studies in groundwater basins indicate that the Disi basin (one non-renewable basins) contains Approximately 100-150 million cubic meters of water, which can be used in various activities for 50 years.

Negative effects of water scarcity in Jordan

Providing water for drinking purposes is the first priority for Jordan, through the emergence of many problems on the ground and the shortage of water, the government and the public reduced the use of water for other purposes, purposes of less importance, such as cleaning, which contributed to the increase of dirt in some areas.

On the other hand, water scarcity in Jordan has affected the development in many sectors in a bad way, and it has hindered investment projects from performing their activities, especially those that require large quantities of water like the Agricultural sector.

Plans to stop water scarcity

The Jordanian government has taken several important steps that have made water more available than ever before.These measures have contributed to reduce losses, groundwater violations, and improving water use efficiency.

The most prominent steps taken by the government to do this:

  • Focusing on wastewater treatment,
  • Utilizing modern technologies.
  • Establishing systems capable of controlling the country’s groundwater resources, protecting them from various types of attacks.
  • Establishing important water projects, especially dams. Which served to provide good quantities of water to the population, where these quantities are used in various uses.

The use of waste water

Pressing water scarcity in Jordan increased the demands of marginal water for agriculture, of which the treated wastewater is the most prominent candidate.

The reuse as percentage of total treatment as index which is of limited use for policy decisions cannot reflect potentialities of wastewater use.

The wastewater reuse index (WRI) reflects the actual proportion of wastewater reused from the total generated wastewater. The WRI in Jordan steadily increased from 30% in 2004 to 38% in 2007, which still has potential for development.

Sewage treatment levels Five levels of quality of treated water have been identified, according to the treatment processes and quality (biological, chemical and physical treatment):

  • Very high level treated water – treated water passed through a third advanced treatment, improved different standards of treated water during which the concentration of E. coli was reduced to 10 bacteria per 100 ml.
  • High-quality treated water – sewage from a mechanical-biological refining facility, producing 30/20 quality water (measures of concentration of organic matter and floating solids in treated water).
  • Treated water from an oxidation pond (with at least 15 days of stay).
  •  Medium-level treated water – treated water from a bio-mechanical refining facility, producing 60/60 quality treated water.
  • Low level treated water

The level of treatment is an important factor to look at when taking the decision whether to use this water for Agricultural needs or not, but it’s not the only factor, there are some other factors involved like: The location of the farm, Type of corps and the corps must go through a final phase of treatment using high temperature.


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