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June 29 2022 4:44 PM ˚
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New plan to turn Al-Karama Dam into tourist winter destination

1. WALA DAM (Photo General Equipmemts Co)
(Photo: Jordan News)
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AMMAN — Jordan Valley Authority (JVA) announced a plan to reinvest in Al-Karama Dam as a tourist destination and construct a desalination plant for irrigation and fish farming, turning the area into a tourist and creational winter destination for locals and foreign visitors.اضافة اعلان

Earlier this week, the Cabinet approved JVA’s decision to offer the land area surrounding the dam for investment in tourism and agriculture through “open advertisement” method and according to terms set by JVA.

JVA Secretary-General Manar Mahasneh said that the project will target not only local tourists but also foreign guests as the site is at close proximity to several historical landmarks, like the Dead Sea and the Baptism Site.

Under the plan, an area of 3,600 dunum has been designated and will be divided into four zones, two of which will be used as eateries that serve seafood, children’s play areas, water adventure parks, car park and bicycle ring, mini golf courses, and nurseries.

The third zone will be used for fish farming, and the fourth for logistical support to the other zones as well as to serve as a water resource through a desalination plant that will be constructed according to the build-operate-transfer (BOT) system, according to Mahasneh.

Mahasneh said that, in cooperation with the Ministry of Investment and the Public-Private Partnership Unit, JVA will prepare the project documents and present them to the private sector for bids, noting that the Prime Ministry has agreed to proceed with the contractual procedures, based on the Jordan Valley Development Law 1988.

Ibrahim Alsharif, a farmer in the Jordan Valley, said that the project is important for farmers as it would provide irrigation water for the farms that suffer shortage of water resources, noting that farms in the Karameh area get their irrigation water from the King Talal Dam and King Abdullah I Canal but not from the Karameh Dam due to high salinity.

Zaher Sweiss, another famer, said that he would abandon his farming business and switch to tourism as it generates “better revenue than agriculture”.  According to Sweiss, many famers have lost their traditional markets, like the Gulf countries, Syria and Iraq and face several other challenges such as high prices of pesticides and agricultural equipment.
Yousef Zreagat, a tourism expert, hailed the project as it could become the first major winter destination in Jordan as the Jordan Valley is characterized by warm weather conditions in winter due to low altitude.

Zreagat suggested that the project should include archaeology and history trails that narrate the history of the area and showcase archaeological artifacts as the area is rich with prehistoric sites such as Tal Al Hamam and Tlilat Al-Ghasoul that date back to the Bronze Age.

The project would also contribute to creating work opportunities for people living in Karameh and Sweimeh.

Karamah Dam, located in the Jordan Valley, 62km southwest of Amman, was constructed in 1995 with a capacity of 55 million cubic meters for irrigational purposes.

According to the Jordan Valley Development Law, Article 3, JVA is tasked with the development of tourism in the valley, identifying areas that have investment advantages for tourism and recreational purposes, and establishing tourist and recreational facilities.

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