By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – The Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) on Sunday announced plans for increasing water supply from underground wells in summer to cope with demand in light of the scant rainfall.

WAJ Secretary General Munir Oweiss said the authority has rented several private wells in different governorates to pump additional water to the capital during the summer, when demand rises.

During a press conference yesterday with Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Najjar and Jordan Valley Authority Secretary General Saad Abu Hammour, Oweiss noted that the authority is also desalinating underground water in Husban.

“The authority will also improve the water situation in Ruseifa and Zarqa by treating water from Awajan wells,” he told reporters.

Meanwhile, Najjar noted that a further delay in the rainy season will have a “limited effect on the capital’s water supply”, since the Zai Water Treatment Plant, which supplies Amman with a third of its water needs, treats Yarmouk River water.

The minister said water supply in the northern governorates, where water per capita is the lowest, will also not be affected by the lack of rain, as it relies on wells.

Oweiss underscored that several wells dug last year will be in operation before the beginning of summer to provide the northern region with enough water.

The JVA has reduced the amount of water provided to farmers in the Jordan Valley due to the limited amounts of water, according to Abu Hammour.

“The situation is critical because we are a country that fully relies on rain water… levels of surface water and storage in dams will definitely be affected,” Abu Hammour noted.

He said the cultivation of all summer crops, such as okra and mlukhia (corchorus), has been banned, noting that the authority will reconsider the decision if the rainy season improves.