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US official to visit Jordan and Israel over water issues

11 billion cubic meters of water needed annually for food sufficiency — water minister

Wahda Dam
(Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Al-Najjar, said that Jordan needs 11 billion cubic meters of water annually to achieve self-sufficiency in food production, according to Al-Mamlaka TV. At current rates, Jordan’s water needs annually stand at 1.2 billion cubic meters.اضافة اعلان

The per capita share of water in Jordan is 90 cubic meters annually for all uses; potable, household, agriculture, industries, and tourism, among others, while the international water poverty line per capita is 500 cubic meters annually.

International studies have warned of a decline in the per capita share in Jordan, which will reach 60 cubic meters annually by 2040 if water shortage persists in light of continued scarcity of resources and growth in demand. 

Jordan has become the second water-poorest country globally, as the water deficit has been worsening annually for decades.  The deficit in the potable water sector alone is expected to reach 45 million cubic meters in 2022.

Jordan’s daily need for water is 3 million cubic meters for all uses, as the last rainy season was one of the lowest in Jordan’s history. Jordan had to buy an additional 100 million cubic meters of water from Israel this year. The water is pumped from Lake Tiberias to the King Abdullah Canal. USAID Jordan revealed this week that the agency is financing the building of a second pipeline along the old one.

The general budget draft law for 2022 provides for the establishment of a water carrier line between Israel and Jordan. A JD2 million were allocated to the Jordan Valley Authority to construct the carrier line from Lake Tiberias to the King Abdullah Canal.

Meanwhile, the US Department of State said that acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, Yael Lempert, is visiting Jordan, West Bank, and Israel between December 19 and 22, according to Ammon News.
During her visit to Jordan, Lempert was scheduled to meet with Jordanian government officials, including Minister of Water and Irrigation Najjar and Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nasser Shraideh.

Her visit comes a month after Jordan, Israel, and the UAE signed a Declaration of Intent to exchange Jordanian green energy for Israeli desalinated water, a deal that citizens and lawmakers have widely criticized. 

On Sunday, the US ambassador to Jordan, Henry Wooster, told local media that the US was not involved in negotiations related to the energy-for-water deal and that the project is a commercial one between commercial parties. He called on Jordan to diversify its water resources. 

USAID had pledged $100 million for the National Water Conveyance project that will supply about 250 million cubic meters annually of water desalinated in Aqaba to the rest of the Kingdom.

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