By Hana Namrouqa – Jun 16,2016

AMMAN — Construction on the JD4 million Wadat Dam in Tafileh Governorate will begin in August to collect rainwater for agricultural purposes, officials said on Wednesday.

“The dam will be 150 cubic metres long and 27 metres high… It will be ready within 18 months after construction commences in August,” said Water Minister Hazem Nasser.

The dam is designed to store 500,000 cubic metres of water, Nasser said in a statement, adding that the blueprints and tenders for the facility have been completed.

The winning bidder to build the dam will be announced in July, the minister added.

The Arab Potash Company has extended JD3.5 million for the construction of the dam, Nasser said, explaining that JD3 million will be repaid to the company through a water deal, while the remaining JD500,000 is a grant.

Meanwhile, the Governorate Development Fund also extended JD500,000, according to the minister. Of this, JD300,000 was spent on research for the dam while the rest was used for financing purposes.

Ministry spokesperson, Omar Salameh, said the dam, located in Tafileh 180km southwest of Amman, will improve living conditions.

The dam will store rainwater for crops and cattle and will also expand pastures, according to the ministry, which added that the dam will also minimise the dangers of flashfloods.

Salameh told The Jordan Times that treatment units could be installed in the future to purify the dam’s water for drinking purposes.

There are currently 10 major dams in Jordan with a capacity of 325 million cubic metres, as well as more than 143 large ponds to collect floodwater in the desert and over 25 sand dams, according to the ministry.

Although expensive to build, dams are vital for Jordan to secure its water needs, experts say.

Plans are under way to raise the capacity of the Kingdom’s dams by 25 per cent to reach 400mcm by the year 2025, according to the ministry, which said that this will be achieved by building more dams and raising the walls of existing ones, including the Waleh Dam in Madaba Governorate.