Driving forces of water resources in Jordan

[09-01-2022 01:29 PM]

BY Dr.Osama Gazal

The water scarcity and limited water resources come together in Jordan with other Driving forces and pressures which can be categorized according to DPSIR Framework by Gazal (2021) into three main pressures: Climate change, agricultural activities, and the refugees. In this article climate change and the increasing frequency of drought events were briefly explained.

Gazal 2021 studied the daily climatological data from 346 weather station to summarize the climatological parameters of Jordan. Jordan's annual areal precipitation has a decreasing trend, with an average -0.674 mm/year estimated of the annual precipitation from 1937 to 2019 by Gazal (2021). The long annual areal precipitation approximately in the last 82 years is P average = 92,2 mm). Gazal 2021 showed that the rate of drought they occur is projected to increase every 25 years, with an average normal drought of 2-3 years and severe drought every 8–11 years. These droughts are rising and further adverse effects of climate change in Jordan are expected to further reduce water availability by 15–20 %.

Recent comprehensive studies by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, 2017) (Development of High-Resolution Hydro-climate Model for Fostering Cooperation on Water Management Between the Palestinian, Israeli, and Jordanian Water Authorities) showed a problematic forecasted water situation for Jordan is predicted by taking into account both RCP4.5 and 8.5 scenarios. Whereby the RCP 4.5 the study predicted a median value of decrease is 14 mm (-7 %) for 2021-2050, and 22mm (-11 %) for 2071-2100. One of the main conclusions of this previous study is even in the absence of a strong precipitation trend, the combination of increased temperature and evapotranspiration makes it clear that the water management situation will worsen, with increasing water demand and stress in Jordan.

Jordan is divided into three climatic zones depending on the annual precipitation special variation, according to the Jordanian ministry of water and irrigation (MWI), these three very different climatic zones are the Jordan valley, the mountains heights plateau, and the eastern desert or Badia region (MWI & BGR 2018). The Jordan valley climate is arid to semi-arid, with a dry hot summer and a warm winter. The average annual rainfall is very small with mostly below 200 mm/yr. The Jordan mountains heights plateau's northern and central parts are characterized by a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers, cool, wet winters, and two short transitional seasons. This climate zone has the highest precipitation levels in Jordan. While the annual average precipitation in the eastern desert and Badia zone is less than 100 mm/year.

According to precipitation zones adopted by MWI (2016), modified by Gazal (2021), there are five precipitation zones (desert, arid, marginal, semi-arid, semi-humid) each zone represents (71.5 %, 22.27 %, 2.25 %, 3.27 %, 0.68 % respectively) of the total area of the country, each zone receives an average annual precipitation about (less than 100 mm, 100-200 mm, 200-300 mm, 300-500 mm, 500-650 mm respectively). Only the semi-humid zone, which is about 620 km2 and represent 0.68 % of the country area can receive 500-650 mm/year.

Accordingly, increased efforts to adapt to the effects of climate change and the growing period of droughts are required, as well as concerted efforts to increase water harvesting projects and make optimal use of the received precipitation. coupled with increase studies to demonstrate the feasibility of increasing the storage capacity of existing dams or expanding by establishing small dams. But seawater and brackish groundwater desalination is the future solution to cop with the water crises in Jordan.

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