Water Shortage in Jordan


Jordan was a country relatively free of environmental problems until the 1970s. As a result of
modernization and population increase, the environment problems arise. The rapidly increasing in
population began to use more water than the country could provide. Additionally, urbanization became
a great source of contamination of the air and the environment. Development of land, necessary to
industrialization, began to violate the country’s wildlife habitats. Soil erosion simultaneously became a
prevalent issue, as the country realized the effects of years of agriculture and logging upon the land. All
of these potential environmental emergencies came to a head throughout the 1970s and the 1980s,
causing a great deal of attention and concern to be cast upon various major problems in need of
The greatest environmental challenge that Jordan faces today is the scarcity of water. Indeed, water is
the decisive factor in the population/resources equation. A high rate of natural population growth,
combined with periodic massive influxes of refugees, has transformed a comfortable balance between
population and water. The situation has been exacerbated by the fact that Jordan shares most of its
surface water resources with neighboring countries, whose control has partially deprived Jordan of its
fair share of water. Current use already exceeds renewable supply. The deficit is covered by the
unsustainable practice of overdrawing highland aquifers, resulting in lowered water tables and declining
water quality. On a per capita basis, Jordan has one of the lowest levels of water resources in the world.
Water Shortage:
The country does not have regional or local rivers; the Jordan River is polluted and saline and runs
almost dry most of the year. Around 90% of the country receives average precipitation of less than 100
mm/year and is generally classified as arid. The eastern desert areas receive as little as 50 mm per year.
Only 3% of Jordan’s land receives average annual precipitation of more than 300 mm. The scarcity and
uneven distribution of precipitation over Jordan results in limited surface and groundwater resources
available for domestic consumption and agricultural and industrial uses. Rapid population growth
coupled with increased urbanization and industrialization are leading to the over-exploitation of aquifers
and the contamination of diminishing supplies through: Inadequate industrial and municipal wastewater
treatment capacities; Sitting of industrial plants near or immediately upstream from potable supplies;
and Overuse and misuse of pesticides, insecticides, fungicides and fertilizers leading to pollution of
ground and surface water resources by irrigation drainage. Jordan, which carries the same name as River
Jordan, has very little water from river resources because rivers and streams are drying out. Therefore,
Jordan mainly depends on rainfall, which is around 200 mm per year. Jordan is known to have a large
area of desert land on its eastern borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia.