Jordan’s per capita water resources to decline by 2040, 35%

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AMMAN — The expectation is that Jordan's per capita share of renewable water resources will decrease from 61 cubic meters to 35 cubic meters by the year 2040 if current water quantities remain unchanged. This stands in contrast to the global average of absolute water scarcity, which is 500 cubic meters per person annually.اضافة اعلان

The National Water Strategy, launched by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation for the years 2023-2040 in March, attributes this decline to "the increasing population concurrent with a decrease in available water quantities from current sources," despite the "significant expected increase in treated water quantities,” Amman Net reported.

Jordan's per capita share is notably less than the global average of 500 cubic meters per person per year, whereas the average per capita water share in the Middle East and North Africa in 2019 was approximately 800 cubic meters, as stated in the strategy.

A substantial challenge in bridging the wide gap
Jordan, recognized as one of the world's most water-scarce countries, faces a substantial challenge in bridging the wide gap between water demand and available sources. This is primarily due to population growth and the recurring influx of refugees stemming from instability in neighboring countries, as outlined in the strategy.

Furthermore, economic development activities and expansion in agricultural areas contribute significantly to the increased demand for water to meet developmental needs.

2021 water quantity sources
In 2021, the total available water quantities from all sources reached approximately 1.093 billion cubic meters. This includes groundwater, surface water, treated wastewater, and desalinated water. Of these, around 680 million cubic meters came from renewable fresh water sources, resulting in a per capita share of about 61 cubic meters for all uses in 2021.

Treated water quantities amounted to roughly 167 million cubic meters, and desalinated water from the sea was less than one million cubic meters for the year. This classification places Jordan among the world's most water-scarce nations, except when considering treated water and desalinated seawater, as indicated in the strategy.

Half of Jordan’s annual water budget
The strategy also cautions against the "continual decline" in groundwater, which contributes to over half of Jordan's annual water budget. Total groundwater supplies reached around 619 million cubic meters in 2021, with approximately 450 million cubic meters drawn from renewable groundwater layers and about 169 million cubic meters annually from non-renewable resources, such as the Disi Basin and the Jafr region.

To maintain stable and sustainable water levels in aquifers, the strategy emphasizes the importance of respecting a safe pumping limit for renewable groundwater, estimated at about 280 million cubic meters annually.

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