Ministry of water tackles 27% dam loss and water decline by 2040

Wallah Dam 3
Wallah Dam. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Ministry of Water and Irrigation is taking proactive steps to tackle the ongoing challenge of sedimentation in dams and address the anticipated decline in renewable surface water sources, as outlined in a national strategy spanning 2023-2040. Sediment accumulation in dams has significantly reduced their storage capacity, with four major dams losing 27 percent of their original capacity by 2022.اضافة اعلان

Currently, the Kingdom maintains 13 dams with a combined storage capacity of around 280 million cubic meters, primarily used for irrigation. A consulting firm, in collaboration with the Jordan Valley Authority, has recommended the construction of three new dams in southern valleys, based on an initial study, Ammon News reported.

Increase dam capacityThe strategy emphasizes the need for specific programs to combat sedimentation, which hinders surface water storage, and highlights the potential operational disruptions caused by accumulated sediments. To address these challenges, the Ministry prioritizes increasing dam capacity through sediment control and, where feasible, raising dam heights.

A 15 percent decline due to climate change
The strategy also forecasts a 15 percent decline in surface water flow and groundwater recharge by 2040 due to climate change. This will impact groundwater recharge, reducing it to 240 million cubic meters annually from the current 280 million cubic meters, and decreasing surface water flow to 340 million cubic meters annually from the current 400 million cubic meters.

Consequently, the water sector aims to construct new desert dams, informed by comprehensive hydrological studies and feasibility assessments, to safeguard and develop renewable surface water sources.

In 2020, a significant decline in rainfall limited dams to only 30 percent of their total storage capacity, affecting 92 percent of Jordan's regions, categorized as dry or semi-dry areas receiving less than 200 mm of annual rainfall, according to the strategy.

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