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Jim Franklin

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Jordan faces up to water crisis - 0 views

  • In Jordan, the government can provide tap water to the capital only once a week
  • Demand is enormous, but supply has been a problem.
  • Jordanians are quite literally tapping into their very last supplies: underground water resources that can never be renewed.
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  • "We have no surface water left, no rivers, no lakes - nothing whatsoever. According to the experts in the climate change, things are not looking promising either. It's actually very scary," says the Jordanian Minister for Water and Irrigation, Raed Abu Saud.
  • the political climate in the Middle East is making things worse.
  • The government says its second, even more ambitious project, could not only generate drinking water but also save the disappearing Dead Sea.
  • The country's main river, the River Jordan, has lost 95% of its natural flow because of diversion. Syria, Israel and Jordan have built dams along the banks of the river Jordan and its tributaries.
  • The government says re-distribution and desalination are the only solutions. At the heart of the country's new water strategy are two major projects that would carry water from the deep aquifers and the Red Sea in the South to the north.
  • The first pipeline would pump water from the Disy aquifer, which Jordan shares with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have long voiced concerns about the project, but the Jordanian government says the agreement has now been reached and that construction is due to begin within months.
  • "Even building those dams or not building dams, at the end of the day you have to have rain to fill the dams," says Mr Abu Saud. "When you get less water, things get more sensitive, and we have to be very careful about how we approach the subject of water with our neighbours."
  • The project, called the Red Dead Canal, has been hailed as an example of regional co-operation. But it is still very much of a pipe dream: getting investment for it has been a problem and there are some serious concerns about the environmental impact of mixing waters of two seas.
  • "Agriculture is one example of water mismanagement. It uses up 70% of our water resources, while its contribution to the economy is minimal. All of these are things that we need to rethink," says Mr Mehyar.
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