by Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN — Rainfall over the past two days channelled around 10 million cubic metres (mcm) of water into the country’s dams, which currently hold 31 per cent of their total capacity, a government official said on Thursday.

The major dams, including the 101mcm Wihdeh Dam, currently hold 101mcm of their total capacity of 327mcm, Water Ministry Spokesperson Omar Salameh said.

“The rain has channelled excellent amounts of water into the major dams, and the storage is expected to increase during the current front,” Salameh told The Jordan Times over the phone.

The country’s major dams held 42mcm or 14.5 per cent of their total capacity during the same period last year and 64.4mcm or 19.8 per cent in 2011, according to official figures.

Salameh called on people to avoid linking their household drainage pipes to the manholes on the streets, noting that the sewage network is overflowing due to such practices.

“In this current weather, we also urge the public to wrap their water gauges with burlap or a piece of cloth to protect them from damage,” Salameh said.

Any exposed water pipes must also be covered with burlap or rock wool to prevent freezing temperatures from damaging them, he added.

Dams, though expensive to construct, are one of the main ways the country relies on to secure its water needs. The Kingdom’s 10 major dams are: the King Talal, Wadi Al Arab, Sharhabil, Kafrein, Wadi Shuaib, Karameh, Tannour, Waleh, Mujib and Wihdeh.

Jordan relies mainly on rainwater, but only 1.1 per cent of its total area receives an average of 400-600 millimetres of rain.

The Kingdom, which is considered the world’s fourth poorest country in terms of water access, suffers an annual water deficit of 500 million cubic metres and per capita share of water does not exceed 150 cubic metres per year, well below the water poverty line of 1,000 cubic metres per year.