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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Sep 29, 2009

Water Shortage in Jordan

In a previous post (9/13/09) I have referred to Jordan as among the five most impoverished country in the world in water supply. Nearly 90% of Jordan is barren desert.

Jordan depends on rainfall for its drinking water and agriculture irrigation. It has always been very efficient in capturing 90% of its rain. However, recently rainfalls have diminished due to climatic changes which led to longer periods of drought.

In addition to natural causes, Israel, in violation of international law, has diverted most of the Jordan River water to southern Israel. This has increased the depletion of the Jordan River. Officials in Jordan estimated that the flow of water into the Dead Sea from the Jordan River is 10% of what it used to be 50 years ago. It has been estimated that by 2050 the Dead Sea would have dried out.

Furthermore, in order to make up for the decreasing water flow into the Jordan River, Israel diverted water from a sewage plant into the River. Hence, the meager flow of water into the River is highly polluted (BBC News, 9/26/2009).

Recently, due to the decreasing availability of fresh water, the Jordanian government established a Water Management System whereby certain sections of the capital Amman will be receiving water during specific days: 1 or 2 days per week instead of 2 to 3 days per week.

Four years ago (2005) Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have agreed, in principle, to build a canal connecting the Red Sea with the Dead Sea at an estimated cost of $11 billion. The purpose behind the proposed project is to provide a new source of drinking water as well as a new flow of water into the Dead Sea. This project is still not implemented due to the lack of financial resources.

The Al Jazeera (9/27/09) reported that the Jordanian government officially announced that it will build part of the above mentioned canal connecting the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. It will start in 2010 and be completed in 2014. The initial cost for such construction is estimated at $2 billion.

The canal will pump 310 million cubic met. per year from the Red Sea, of which 240 million cubic met. will be desalinated in Aqaba. From the 240, 120 million cubic will be used for drinking water, and 130 million cubic met. will flow into the Dead Sea.

Presently, the population of Jordan exceeds 6 million, and it is increasing rapidly at the rate of 3.5% per year. Hence, the construction of such canal is extremely important to Jordan in order to meet the pressing need for drinking water.

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