By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Water supply to the public will remain unchanged, while irrigation water for farmers in the Jordan Valley will be reduced due to the lack of rainfall, government officials said on Monday.

Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Najjar said the ministry is drawing up plans to address the water shortage because of the absence of rain and its impact on water storage.

“The Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) will continue providing the public with water in accordance with the water distribution programme. WAJ is securing additional water resources, such as privately owned wells, and reducing water loss as well,” Najjar said in a statement sent to The Jordan Times.

The minister underscored that the public’s cooperation in limiting water use is vital in dealing with the current situation.

“The Jordan Valley Authority (JVA) will also continue to provide farmers with water for irrigation, but only amounts adequate to sustain their crops. The authority also requests farmers to cut down water use,” Najjar noted.

The ministry and the JVA have not yet decided the percentage of reduction in irrigation water, according to Adnan Zu’bi, the ministry’s assistant secretary general and spokesperson, who noted that the reduction rate will vary weekly depending on the available quantity of water.

“The Kingdom’s main dams currently hold 37 per cent of their total capacity, while they held around 32 per cent during the same period last year,” he told The Jordan Times yesterday.

Normally, 30 to 40 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 case of a dry year.

Najjar noted that the ministry’s measures are precautionary in case rainfall continues to elude the country, particularly at a time when storage in dams has declined significantly.

Meanwhile, the Jordan Meteorological Department (JMD) described the current weather and lack of rainfall as “normal”, attributing the dry and warm weather to recurring Red Sea troughs.

“Because multiple Red Sea troughs have been affecting the country, warm and dry winds are causing a rise in temperatures and preventing any rainfall,” meteorologist Ziyad Balasmeh told The Jordan Times yesterday.

He noted that the average temperature during this time of the year is 19¼C, adding that a new Red Sea trough will start affecting the country today, raising temperatures to 24¼C-25¼C during the day and 13¼C at night in the capital.

Balasmeh said warm weather during the day and relatively cold at night will prevail this week.