Parched Jordan to tap ancient aquifer

Jul 10, 2013
A Jordanian truck driver fills his tanker with water in Abu Nuseir, near the capital Amman on September 30, 2012. Jordan, one of the world's 10 driest countries, said it will start pumping water from a 300,000-year-old southern aquifer on Thursday to the capital and other cities to help them meet high demand.

Jordan, one of the world's 10 driest countries, said it will start pumping water from a 300,000-year-old southern aquifer on Thursday to the capital and other cities to help them meet high demand.

"An experimental pumping of water from the wells of the Disi aquifer will start at midnight (2100 GMT) Wednesday," Water Minister Hazem Nasser told the state-run Petra .

The much-awaited $990 million project seeks to extract 100 million cubic metres (3.5 billion cubic feet) of water a year from the Disi aquifer, 325 kilometres (200 miles) south of Amman.

The water ministry says Jordan, where 92 percent of the land is , will need 1.6 billion cubic metres of water a year to meet its requirements by 2015, while the population of 6.8 million is growing by almost 3.5 percent a year.

"The pumping will contribute to solving Amman's water problems in a week, while other cities will start witnessing improvement in within a month," Nasser said.

Officials say the project has required 250,000 tonnes of steel and the digging of 55 wells to pump water from Disi to Amman, where the per capita daily consumption of its 2.2 million population is 160 litres (42 gallons).

A 2008 study by Duke University, in the United States, shows that Disi's water has 20 times more than is considered safe, with radium content that could trigger cancers.

But the government has brushed aside those concerns.

"The country will still be suffering from a chronic shortage, which has been aggravated by the influx of Syrian refugees," Nasser said.

Jordan and the United Nations say the kingdom is home to around 500,000 Syrian who have fled the conflict raging since March 2011.

Explore further: Underwater elephants

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Jordan's fossil water source has high radiation levels

Feb 24, 2009

Ancient groundwater being tapped by Jordan, one of the 10 most water-deprived nations in the world, has been found to contain twenty times the radiation considered safe for drinking water in a new study by an international ...

Ancient reservoir could bring water to dry Namibia

Jul 27, 2012

A stone-age underground water reservoir could transform life in arid Namibia, a government official said Friday, holding up to five million cubic metres of water that could supply the area for 400 years.

In California oasis, ample water leads to waste

Jun 19, 2012

An oasis in the California desert, Palm Springs says it is committed to saving water -- but not before filling its swimming pools and tending to its dozens of verdant golf courses.

Jordan River could die by 2011: report

May 02, 2010

The once mighty Jordan River, where Christians believe Jesus was baptised, is now little more than a polluted stream that could die next year unless the decay is halted, environmentalists said on Monday.

Recommended for you

Big data confirms climate extremes are here to stay

2 hours ago

In a paper published online today in the journal Scientific Reports, published by Nature, Northeastern researchers Evan Kodra and Auroop Ganguly found that while global temperature is indeed increasing, so too is the variab ...

How might climate change affect our food supply?

3 hours ago

It's no easy question to answer, but prudence demands that we try. Thus, Microsoft and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have teamed up to tackle "food resilience," one of several themes ...

Groundwater is safe in potential N.Y. fracking area

4 hours ago

Two Cornell hydrologists have completed a thorough groundwater examination of drinking water in a potential hydraulic fracturing area in New York's Southern Tier. They determined that drinking water in potable ...

User comments : 0