By Hana Namrouqa – Jun 05,2018

AMMAN — As the rainy season is officially over, officials on Monday described current water storage at the country’s dams as “acceptable” given the weak precipitations of this year’s winter.

Water levels at the main dams are now a little less than half their storage capacity of 336 million cubic metres (mcm), an official at the Ministry of Water and Irrigation said.

“The water now is a little below the dams’ half storage mark. As the wet season is now officially over, the Kingdom’s 15 main dams hold 43 per cent of their total capacity,” the official told The Jordan Times, noting that the dams hold 147mcm of water.

The wet season in Jordan usually starts late September or early October and ends around May 10, when the annual khamsini weather phenomenon, which brings rain during unstable weather conditions, usually abates, according to the Jordan Meteorological Department.

“The amount is less than what the dams held during this time last year, because rain during the 2017/2018 wet season started later than usual. In addition, precipitation was less,” the official said.

He noted that climate change has “drastically” affected the Kingdom’s precipitation amounts and rainfall patterns.

“The impact of climate change on Jordan has been evident during the past decade, during which the country has been receiving less rain and witnessed shifting rainfall patterns, in addition to rising temperatures and more frequent heat waves. This has aggravated Jordan’s water dilemma,” the official stressed, citing international reports on the impact of climate change on Jordan and the Middle East.

Jordan’s 2013-2020 Jordan Climate Change Policy suggests that the country will witness a 1ºC to 4°C increase in temperatures and a 15 to 60 per cent decrease in precipitation. Both changes could in turn have a serious impact on the Kingdom’s natural ecosystems, river basins, watersheds and biodiversity.

Meanwhile, a study carried out by the Stanford University and the Ministry of Water and Irrigation in 2015 indicated that climate change over the past two decades has caused a drastic drop in rainfall, prolonging dry spells in Jordan.