- environment - Jordan - water
Thirsty Jordan announced on Sunday that a Turkish firm will begin work next week on a near-billion-dollar project to supply the capital with water from an ancient southern aquifer.
Water Minister Raed Abu Soud said GAMA Energy will next Sunday launch the 990-million-dollar plan to extract 100 million cubic metres (3.5 billion cubic feet) of water a year from the 300,000-year-old Disi aquifer 325 kilometres (200 miles) south of Amman.
Infrastructure work on the much-delayed project in the desert kingdom is expected to take around four years, the state-run Petra news agency quoted Abu Soud as saying.
This will include using 250,000 tonnes of steel and digging 55 wells to pump water from Disi to Amman, where per capita daily consumption of its 2.2-million population is 160 litres (42 gallons), he said.
Jordan's overall population of nearly six million is growing by almost 3.5 percent annually, and it is one of the world's 10 most water-impoverished countries, relying mainly on rainfall to meet its needs.
"A radical solution to Jordan's chronic water problems is the Red-Dead Canal project, expected to provide Jordan with 500 million cubic metres (17.5 billion cubic feet) of water" annually, Abu Soud said.
He was referring to a multi-billion dollar plan to build a massive canal to channel water from the Red Sea to the slowly evaporating Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, and to construct a desalination plant.
The demand for water is constantly rising in Jordan, which has seen an influx of around 750,000 Iraqi refugees since the US-led invasion of its eastern neighbour in 2003.
Current water consumption is some 900 million cubic metres (31.5 billion cubic feet) per annum.
The water ministry says Jordan, where 92 percent of the land is desert, will need 1.6 billion cubic metres (56 billion cubic feet) of water a year to meet its requirements by 2015.