by Hana Namrouqa | Jan 17,2012 | 23:06

AMMAN — Blueprints for the four-million-cubic-metre (mcm) Ibn Hammad Dam in Karak Governorate are ready, with construction expected to start this year, according to a government official.

“Studies and blueprints for the Ibn Hammad Dam are completed and construction will commence once funding of the project is secured,” Jordan Valley Authority Secretary General Saad Abu Hammour said.

Named after the Ibn Hammad Valley in the south, the 52-metre-high dam will help meet the increasing demand for water in the country.

Meanwhile, the JD22 million Kufranjah Dam in Ajloun Governorate is scheduled to be completed in 2014.

“Construction on Kufranjah Dam, which is designed to store 6mcm of water, started late last year. The dam will store rainwater and address the water crisis in Ajloun and Jerash governorates,” Abu Hammour underscored.

He added that Kufranjah Dam water will be primarily used for drinking purposes and for irrigating crops in the Jordan Valley.

“Jordan is a pioneering country in the region in dam construction despite its limited financial resources, which hinder the ministry from establishing more reservoirs that address the country’s water shortage,” he noted.

Dams, though expensive to build, are vital for the Kingdom to secure its water needs, according to experts.

The Kingdom’s 10 major dams are: King Talal, Wadi Al Arab, Sharhabil, Kafrein, Wadi Shuaib, Karameh, Tannour, Waleh, Mujib and Wihdeh.

They currently hold 58.3mcm, or 27 per cent, of their total capacity of 215mcm, excluding the 110mcm Wihdeh Dam, where water storage is currently experimental.

Jordan, which is considered the world’s fourth water poorest country, suffers an annual water deficit of 500mcm and per capita share of water does not exceed 150 cubic metres annually, well below the water poverty line of 500 cubic metres per year.

According to official figures, 91 per cent of the Kingdom’s total area of 97,000 square kilometres is arid land with an annual rainfall average of 50-200 millimetres (mm), while 2.9 per cent is categorised as semi-arid with an annual rainfall average of 400-580mm.