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Amman, November 14, 2019
In the framework of the 60 years celebration of Jordanian-German Development Cooperation the Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MWI) together with the German Institute of Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) launched a study on Groundwater Resources of Jordan
The Minister of Water and Irrigation, H.E. Eng. Raed Abul Saud, opened the conference together with the Chargée d’Affaires a.i. of the German Embassy in Jordan, Mrs. Ulla Brunkhorst, at the Royal Cultural Center.
H.E. Eng. Abul Saud praised the efforts exerted by the water sector in cooperation with the German institutions to overcome the major challenges facing the sector. As is well known, the water supply in Jordan is facing severe challenges, considering climate change, population growth and expanding irrigation for agriculture. In this regard, the newly developed groundwater model is a very important tool to estimate the impacts of water management measures or changing water use pattern on the future developments of groundwater.
Minister Abul Saud raised the importance of the cooperation and the need to carry out research and studies with precise information about the water resources in order to develop policies, strategies and plans that are compatible with the water situation in the country. He stressed that the Ministry is moving towards achieving the strategy of integrated water resources management attracting more investments to develop the sector and its tools, as well as implementing a number of projects to achieve water security. Minister Abul Saud indicated that the German government and institutions have been working with the water sector since 1959 in a framework of constructive cooperation providing technical assistance to many different programs in the water sector. Germany is one of the key partners in providing support to the water sector and other sectors.
Mrs. Ulla Brunkhorst highlighted that Germany has established itself as second-largest bilateral donor to Jordan with a record volume of well over 800 million euros in support for this year alone. She recalled that BGR started its cooperation with Jordan in 1959: “BGR has made a significant contribution towards improving the situation of people living in Jordan, especially with regard to drinking water supplies, through introducing water protection zones”. The water sector has been a focal area of German development cooperation and Germany will continue to support Jordan in dealing with the wide range of challenges.
H.E. Ali Subah, Secretary General of MWI and Acting Secretary General of the Water Authority, and Prof. Dr. Ralf Watzel, President of BGR, highlighted the different working fields of the long-lasting and successful cooperation from 1959 until today. The ceremony was attended by, Eng. Ali Al-Kouz, Secretary General of the Jordan Valley Authority, Firas Al-Azzam, Secretary-General Assistant of the Water Authority, and a number of officials and a large gathering from various sectors and institutions concerned with water, academics and experts.
The experts of MWI and BGR presented the results of the groundwater study: The assessment revealed that about one quarter of all springs have dried out and the total spring discharge has decreased by almost 50% from 1970 to 2010. Likewise, the development of the groundwater level shows a negative trend. The water levels in Jordan’s main aquifer decreased between 50 to 100 meters over the last two decades, locally dropping 8 meters per year. The simulations of the recently developed nationwide groundwater flow model show that the groundwater levels will continue to decrease, if the water abstraction is not reduced significantly. The assessment of the current situation as well as the groundwater model are important tools that support decision makers in responding to the challenges of water scarcity in Jordan. A further important result of the technical cooperation between MWI and BGR is the update of the groundwater vulnerability map for central and northern Jordan which resulted in the update of the Groundwater Protection Guideline published in 2006. By now, groundwater vulnerability should be considered for land-use planning to protect the precious water resources from contamination.