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  • Jordan Is Running Out of Water, a Grim Glimpse of the Future - The New York Times

    Desalination is a promising lifeline for Jordan, but it will not happen quickly. A large-scale desalination project in the port city of Aqaba on the Red Sea is in the works, but it will take years.

    There is one potential quick fix: buying more water from Israel, a pioneer in desalination techniques. Cooperation on water was an important element of the 1994 peace treaty between the two countries, and they signed a water-for-energy agreement at the United Nations climate conference in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh on Tuesday.

    Protests broke out in Amman last year when the plan, which was brokered by the United Arab Emirates and would involve Jordan sending solar energy to Israel in exchange for water, was first announced. An overreliance on Israel water is unpalatable to many Jordanians, who oppose the occupation of the Palestinian territories.

    But water is a critical national security issue in Jordan, and shortages threaten to destabilize a stalwart U.S. Arab ally that has been an oasis of calm in a turbulent neighborhood. Iyad Dahiyat, a former water ministry official, said the water portfolio is as important as the military given the threats to Jordan posed by climate change.

    One recent study predicted that severe and potentially destabilizing water shortages will become common in Jordan by 2100 unless the country makes significant changes.

    “The government needs to increase supply to communities to limit discontent,” said Sandra Ruckstuhl, an American researcher based in Amman and a senior adviser at the International Water Management.

    Ms. Ruckstuhl and other experts say the government needs to raise water prices based on household income to account for the soaring cost of delivering it to homes and businesses. But many Jordanians are already struggling with unemployment and high prices and that would be an added, and unpopular, burden.

    Choosing crops wisely and managing water are crucial for Jordanian agriculture as climate change accelerates. The sector once used about 70 percent of the country’s water supply, though it contributes relatively little to the gross domestic product.

    Use has decreased to around 50 percent, which Mr. Salameh, the government spokesman, cited as a promising indicator. But many farmers still focus on water-intensive crops that are becoming more difficult to grow.

    Khaireddin Shukri, 68, is a retired farm owner and a consultant who has long pushed for crops that require less water and bring in more money. He said the water issue revolves around planning and pointed to inefficient practices and waste.

    “It’s a country with huge potential but lack of management,” he said of Jordan.

    #eau #changement_climatique #agriculture #irrigation

    • commentaire du journaliste Taylor Luck et suivants

      Great article, but quick note, the #Jordan-#Israel 200mcm #water deal is not a “quick fix.” Even with water from Israel and 200mcm desalination from Aqaba (when?), the country faces 1.6 billion cubic meters demand amid dwindling groundwater and rainfall
      #Jordan-#Israel #water deal will ease the immediate emergancy, no doubt (when it happens). But it, along with the Red Sea Conveyance Project will barely keep up pace with increased water demand due to population growth and decline in rainfall/groundwater resources.
      Also, deal is dependent on construction of the solar plant and an #Israel-i prime Minister who won’t withhold water to strong-arm #Jordan. #Netanyahu has mused withholding water from Jordan in the past and has criticized this solar-water deal.