by Hana Namrouqa | Mar 04,2012 | 22:42

AMMAN — The polar depression that brought heavy rain and snow to Jordan this weekend raised water storage in the country’s major dams to a “reassuring” third of their total capacity, according to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation.

“The country’s major dams now hold 106 million cubic metres (mcm) or 32.5 per cent of their total capacity of 325mcm. Storage is expected to increase within the next two days, because run-off water needs 48 hours to reach the dams,” Ministry of Water and Irrigation Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary General Adnan Zu’bi said on Sunday.

“Melting snow and run-off water are still flowing into the dams, so the storage levels are expected to rise. In addition, water levels in aquifers are also expected to rise and dried-up springs will be revitalised,” he highlighted.

Normally, around 30 per cent of water stored in the Kingdom’s dams is held as a strategic reserve to ensure a continuous supply of water to farmers in the event of a dry year, according to water officials.

The 75mcm King Talal Dam received the most rainwater, currently holding 44mcm, while the Mujib Dam now holds 15mcm of its capacity of 30mcm, Zu’bi noted.

“The Kingdom has so far received 87 per cent of its long-term annual average rainfall of 8.3 billion cubic metres,” he added.

Dams are crucial for the Kingdom to secure its water needs, according to experts. Jordan is among the four most water poor countries in the world, with an annual water deficit of approximately 500mcm.

Approximately 91 per cent of the country’s total area of 97,000 square kilometres is arid, with an annual rainfall average of 50-200 millimetres, while 2.9 per cent of the country’s land is semi-arid, with an annual rainfall average of 400-580 millimetres.