Heidan Valley farmers suffer from water scarcity

Madaba’s Heidan valley is home to some 83 farms and more than 5,000 dunums of crops, which are struggling due to the water scarcity. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Jordanian farmers are complaining of water scarcity in Heidan Valley, located in Madaba Governorate and considered the third biggest valley in Jordan. The complaints come as Jordan expects an even drier summer than usual.اضافة اعلان

Nedal Ebrezat, a local farmer in Heidan Valley, told Jordan News in an interview over the phone that the water scarcity problem for farmers of the valley has been ongoing for the past 15 years. The land there is predominantly owned by the Ebrezat family.

“There are around 83 farms in Heidan and crops cover over 5,000 dunums. They need water,” the farmer said.

Abdullah Ebrezat, owner of Al-Heidan Tourism and Travel Company, which runs the Heidan Adventure Center in the valley, echoed the farmer’s statements and told Jordan News that his touristic business venture relies directly on the availability of water. His business suffers from the water scarcity in the area.

“I have a touristic business venture and land which I plan on farming,” he said.

The business owner explained that the water scarcity problem began three years ago, and usually starts in mid-April and continues until the next rainy season begins in October or November.

Heidan Valley farmers are asking for around 200 to 250 liters of water per hour during the summer months from April through September to be able to sustain their crops.

The two sources informed Jordan News that the Ministry of Water and Irrigation had installed a water pipe which was intended to solve the problem and provide the farmers with around 250 to 300 liters of water per hour. However, according to them the pipe was improperly designed and installed. 

They explained that the pipe cannot handle the amount of water coming in from the dam, which causes flooding among other problems. This is a result of the pipe’s construction not being completely finished.

“They give us around 150 to 200 liters of water and then they cut off the water supply. It is not available 24/7,” the farmer told Jordan News.

This constitutes a problem for the farmers, as they need water for their crops to withstand the heat in the area during the hot summer months. The farmer also said that while trees can go without water for 4 or 5 days, vegetables cannot.

“Temperatures in Heidan reach 42 and 43°C. If vegetables lose water for one day they die,” he explained.

The water scarcity has also caused another problem for farmers in Heidan, who are in debt. The farmer told Jordan News that if the crops die, the farmers lose out on the income they would have received from the harvest, which they rely on to repay the debts they took out during planting season.

Jordan News contacted the Ministry of Water and Irrigation on the issue and was referred by spokesperson Omar Salameh to the Jordan Valley Authority, who in turn referred Jordan News to the Water Authority, who were unavailable for immediate comment.

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