Dismal 2021 rainy season raises concern for upcoming year

Stakeholders who spoke with Jordan News said that the lack of rain in 2021 raises the importance of upcoming rainy season. (Photo: Shutterstock)
AMMAN — Jordan is approaching the winter season, and after drought struck the country in 2021, stakeholders are pondering the upcoming rainy season and whether water conditions will be better this year.اضافة اعلان

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Omar Salama, spoke to Jordan News and said: “We experienced water shortage last year, which is still apparent today, and one of the main reasons was the poor rainy season last winter. Since we are a water-poor country originally, the lack of rain has a significant impact on Jordan.”

As for the coming season, he added: “We can only hope for the best, and since we haven’t entered the season yet, we can’t expect anything. But what we can do is take all possibilities into account and remind citizens that this is nature’s work and we cannot change it, except that we can rationalize water consumption no matter how heavy the rain seems to us.”

In an interview with Jordan News, MP Muhammad Al-Alaqmeh, head of the Parliamentary Agriculture and Water Committee, said that a cause for the water shortage was due to last year’s lack of precipitation, adding that: “The storage of dams worsened this … as the water present was less than 40 percent of its capacity. This is a real danger if it continues.”

Alaqmeh emphasized the need to develop water sources as they are “depleting.” He shared that: “Technical and administrative losses today of water constitute 47 percent of water losses, this is a large percentage.”
Assault on water resources was also discussed by Alaqmeh as a mismanagement issue, sharing that theft of water results in large quantities of drinking and agricultural water being lost. 

“There are not enough monitors to impose control and prevent attacks on water resources,” he said.

“We have to take into consideration that our water needs exceed 1.4 billion cubic meters annually, and we have large numbers of refugees in Jordan with whom we share these quantities. This (refugee number) was unexpected, forcing us to think of new solutions.”

In terms of finding a solution to this issue, Alaqmeh shared that desalination of Aqaba’s water would assist in dealing with the water shortage. 
“The desalination of Aqaba’s water would provide 300 million cubic meters of water. This is a national project, and I think that all parties should make efforts to finish this project as soon as possible,” he said.

Alaqmeh said that the Ministry of Water should develop a plan to build more dams and better utilize valleys: “Especially in areas with high rainfall in particular,” he said.

Raed Rafid, Director of the Department of Meteorology, told Jordan News that the rain rates for the past year were lower than average. 

Statistically, he shared that the northern regions achieved 81 percent of the normal total average for the season, the central and western areas achieved 77 percent of the normal average, the eastern regions achieved 74 percent, while the southern regions achieved only between 40 percent and 60 percent of the normal average.  

“These numbers show that last season was weak overall, but it was in varying proportions,” he said. 

“If we first compare the 2019/2020 season with the 2020/2021 season, we will find that there is a big difference. The 2019/2020 rainy season has achieved the usual rates and even exceeded them. They achieved around 125 percent to 160 percent of the rainy season in all regions of Jordan,” he shared regarding annual rainfall predictions.

However, Rafid shared that seasonal predictions were not always accurate. While the projections for this year indicated that the rainfall rates for this season were less than average, he preferred to remain optimistic. 

“But according to the indicators for the upcoming rainy season in the reports of the World Meteorological Organization, it appears to be below the normal seasonal rates,” he said.

Rafid stressed: “The errors in these predictions are possible. The error rate may reach 50 percent. As a result of our experience, we are used to considering these predictions at a rate that does not exceed between 40 and 50 percent only.” 

“There is no doubt that these predictions go according to specific numerical models. However, these models do not take into account some of the factors and elements of the region in terms of geography, so we always expect an error,” he concluded.

Read more National news