Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 06 April 2011
In its desperate efforts to battle chronic water shortages, Jordan, one of the world’s 10 driest countries, is mulling “unconventional” and “environmentally unfriendly” plans, experts say.
The challenge is huge for this tiny country where desert covers 92% of the territory and the population of 6.3 million is growing.
Critics said the government’s efforts to manage the country’s limited water resources and generate new ones are being hindered by a strategy which at best is chaotic.
Jordan is tapping into the ancient southern Disi aquifer, despite concerns about high levels of radiation, while studies are underway to build a controversial canal from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea.
“Unconventional projects, like Disi for example, are environmentally unfriendly,” said water expert Dureid Mahasneh, a former Jordan Valley Authority chief.
The $990m project seeks to extract 100 million cubic metres of water a year from the 300 000-year-old Disi aquifer, 325km south of Amman, officials said.
The plan is to provide the capital Amman with water for 50 years, said water ministry official Bassam Saleh, who is in charge of the project that was launched in 2008 and is due to be completed in 2012.
A 2008 study by Duke University in the US, shows that Disi’s water has 20 times more radiation than is considered safe, with radium content that could trigger cancers. Continue reading