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Jordan urged caution, extensive preparations amid drought

Water Ministry says ‘too early’ to predict anything about rainfall in Kingdom

By Batool Ghaith - Nov 17,2021 - Last updated at Nov 17,2021

A view of King Talal Dam. As a result of the weak rainy season, water storage in dams is 80 million cubic metres lower than previous years, according to the Water Ministry (JT file photo)

AMMAN — Jordan is currently experiencing a general state of drought, according to a report on the rainy season in the Kingdom issued by Arabia Weather, a private weather forecasting company.

Jordan and countries in the Levant are suffering from a significant rain shortage compared to the yearly average for this season, the report said.

The data from the Jordan Meteorological Department showed that by mid November this year, the rain volume did not exceed 18 per cent compared with average rainfall in this time of year.

The percentage is expected to be more than 90 per cent in normal conditions, the report said.

All regions of the Kingdom, except for Tafileh and Karak, suffer from this severe rain shortage, according to the forecaster.

Rainfall in the northern region amounted to about 20 per cent, while it decreased significantly in the capital and all central regions, recording modest values of 10 per cent, according to Arabia Weather.

The weather forecasting company in its report warns the Kingdom that this issue requires heightened concern and extensive preparations.

However, Water Ministry Spokesperson Omar Salameh said that 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.

“Dams are currently at their lowest storage levels,” Salameh said.

“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.

The official expressed hope that the rainy season will be of a suitable level to improve storage in the dams.

“Usually, at the end of the summer season, dam storage levels are low and we try to make use of all available water sources,” he added.

Jordan is the second most water scarce country globally, as the Kingdom only has an available annual water resource per capita of less than 100 cubic metre, which is far below the internationally recognised water scarcity level of 500 cubic metre, according to the UNICEF.

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