Welcome to the Middle East Today

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.

Apr 8, 2010

Jordan - Water Poverty

In the previous posts, references were made to Jordan’s water scarcity. It is listed among the five countries with the least availability of fresh water worldwide. The shortages of water in Jordan began a few decades ago, when Israel diverted most of the Jordan River water into Israel. What is still flowing in the river is highly polluted and unfit for human use. In addition, the meager flow of water led to the sinking water level of the Dead Sea. It has been projected that the Dead Sea will dry out by the year 2050 unless new water flows into it.

The scarcity of water in Jordan should be viewed in light of the continuous population growth of 3.5% per year. Jordan’s population is around 6.5 million. Also, 92% of its land is desert. The renewable water in Jordan has been estimated at 150 cu. met/per person/per year.

In light of such a situation, the Jordanian government has adopted a strategy which reflects the following:
1) The Jordanian government began to implement the strategy of connecting the Gulf of Aqaba with the Dead Sea by constructing a canal that will pump 130 million cu. met./per year into the Dead Sea.
2) The government will also construct a desalination plant in Aqaba that will provide 240 million cu. met. of fresh water per year through the canal which will be completed by the year 2014. The cost of this project will be $2 billion.
3) The Jordanian government also signed a contract with South Korea to build a nuclear plant that will generate electrical power that the country needs badly.

When complete, the two proposed projects will enable Jordan to meet its pressing shortages of water as well as meet the needs of its growing population, which is expected to double within twenty years.

Let me also point out that the Jordanian government has one of the best water managements in the Arab world. However, the government should encourage people to limit the number of births per family. Family planning and birth control should be implemented in order to minimize the impact of water scarcity at the present and in the future as well.

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