Water management for the Mujib River, Jordan

Jordan is one of the driest countries in the world. With increasing water use, hardly all marshes, rivers and lakes have disappeared in recent years, with impacts on nature and people. Wetlands International with its local partner organisation, the Royal Society for Conservation of Nature (RSCN), work in the area of the Mujib River to maintain one of the last permanent rivers of Jordan and to show water use and pollution can be reduced without impacting the local economy.

The problem

Jordan is  the 4th water poorest country in the world, with soaring temperatures in summer and just a few centimeters of rainfall anually. Population growth, water intensive agriculture and the expanding thirsty capital Amman have increased water needs to the limits. Many wetlands such as the Ramsar site Azraq have vanished in recent years. This is a clear indicator for a bigger problem of dropping water levels, but also a problem in itself for nature and people that depended on these areas.

In the project area of the Mujib River, large quantities of the river water are diverted upstream. A dam keeps large quantities of the water, to be used for the households in Amman and for agriculture. Farmers extract increasing quantities of ground water, thus reducing the waterflows to the river.  In addition, life in the river is threatened by the use of pesticides and fertiliser.

The Mujib river is one of the last permanently flowing rivers of Jordan. The flow itself has a unique biodiversity including a fish species that only occurs in this river. The water of the river is also crucial for the Mujib Nature Reserve downstream towards the Dead Sea. Animals like Rock Hyrax, the Eurasian Badger and, most importantly, the Nubian Ibex depend on the river for drinking. Last but not least, many of the Dead Sea resorts on the Jordan site depend on the river water by extracting just before the river enters the this salt water lake.

Aim of our project

Wetlands International and the Royal Society for Conservation of Nature (RSCN) work in the area around the Mujib river to maintain a stable flow of fresh and clean water. For this, we work on a less water intensive agriculture to reduce ground and surfacewater extraction by farmers and we advise on a optimal dam management in order to maintain certain water levels throughout the year.

Organisation of this project

Project undertaken with the financial support of the government of Canada provide through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
Lead contracting partner: Wetlands International.
Implementing partner in Jordan: The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature

www.wetlands.org/medwetwat

Map of the area (click to download)