event 20 Sep 2018

Groundwater Governance in the Arab World // Water Resources, Use and Management in Jordan: A Focus on Groundwater

By Emad Al-Karablieh and Amer Salman. Given the water-security threat to Jordan posed by water shortages, water security has become a major domestic issue as population increases rapidly with refugees entering the country because of conflict in neighbouring countries, including a new influx from Syria that is estimated to have 2.72 million people where about 1 million are registered refugees from various countries by the end of December 2015.

Book cover 2

Loose water governance in the form of lax enforcement of rules and regulation and lack of equity and transparency has resulted in continuous mining of renewable groundwater resources, with extraction currently 50% over the safe yields, increasing water salinity, declining water table levels and increasing pumping costs. Efficient management of scarce water resources is an existential necessity. It is critical to the livelihoods and well-being of Jordan's people and essential to the country's lasting stability. The driving force for weak by-law enforcement is to ensure political stability, which is the primary objective of water policies in Jordan. In the absence of securing its water assets, Jordan risks near-term economic slowdowns, health hazards, social disruptions, and serious conflicts over water resources.

In the light of the challenges faced by groundwater as a result of the ever increasing water demand due to population growth, refugee influxes, and economic growth in addition to groundwater depletion coupled with the negative impacts of climate change, it is necessary to identify and support the design of proactive measures to alleviate the effects of droughts and climate change adaptation measures as well as the promotion of the efficient use of the available groundwater water resources. This situation requires that groundwater resources should be managed optimally and sustained for future generations. A groundwater sustainability policy is highly needed.

This is an IWMI project publication that was made possible through support provided by the Middle East Regional Platform, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).


IWMI website (open access)


December 2016


International Water Management Institute (IWMI)

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is heading a USAID-funded regional project on groundwater governance in the Arab world intended to address the challenges posed by the unsustainable use of groundwater. Groundwater over-abstraction is a vexing issue in most parts of the world and exercising control over it is a clear challenge to policy-makers, managers and academics alike, especially given the spatially disperse nature of access points.

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