by Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN — Water storage at the southern dams remains disappointing, as the reservoirs have not received any rainwater since the start of the wet season, an official said on Tuesday.

Although the southern and eastern parts of the country were affected late last week by unstable weather conditions that brought heavy rain, water storage levels in the southern dams remained unchanged, according to Ministry of Water and Irrigation Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary General Adnan Zu’bi.

“No water was channelled into the southern dams. Storage levels at the country’s dams remain disappointing, especially as marbaniyeh started without sufficient rain,” he told The Jordan Times yesterday.

The southern dams include the 8.18 million cubic metre (mcm) Waleh Dam, the 29.82mcm Mujib Dam, the 16.80mcm Tannour Dam and several smaller dams.

During marbaniyeh, the local name given to the 40 coldest days of winter, the country typically witnesses several depressions, while average temperatures in the capital range between a maximum of 12ºC and a minimum of 3ºC.

Jordan usually gets 30 per cent of its long-term annual average rainfall of 8.3 billion cubic metres during marbaniyeh, which started late December and ends on February 1.

“The Kingdom has received only 14.6 per cent of its long-term annual average rainfall of 8.3 billion cubic metres. By this time last year, 18 per cent had been recorded,” Zu’bi noted.

The country’s major dams currently hold 58.3mcm or 27 per cent of their total capacity of 215mcm, according to the ministry’s figures.

Dams are a key means 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.