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Project GLOWA Jordan River

GLOWA Jordan River is an interdisciplinaryproject addressing the vulnerability of water resources in the JordanRiver Basin under global change. An integrated approach providesscientific support for sustainable and cooperative managementpractices. The project addresses conventional as well asnon-conventional methods of water management and their ecological andsocio-economic implications. Results from GLOWA JR should betransferable to other arid and Mediterranean regions with transboundarywater resources.

The multitude ofstakeholders calls for a multilateral research consortium. Researchinstitutions from Israel, the Palestinian Autonomy, Jordan, and Germanycontribute scientific knowledge from a range of sources, such as insituand remote sensing measurements, monitoring and manipulativeexperiments, socio-economic data, and modelling. A modelling frameworkis developed to integrate data and methods from various disciplines. Acontinuous and iterative dialogue with regional stakeholders is heldfor producing information which is relevant for water management.

GLOWAJR is structured into different subprojects dealing with global changeprocesses, water resources, ecosystems, agriculture, and integrationand stakeholder participation.

The first phase of GLOWA JR was from 2001-2005. Since September 2005 GLOWA JR is in its second phase.


TheGLOWA Jordan River project focuses on one of the most critical regionsof water scarcity. The region has one of the lowest per capita wateravailabilities worldwide, ranging well below the typical absolutescarcity threshold of 500 m³ to 1000 m³ per capita and year. Theseamounts do not allow self sufficiency.

Waterdemand is increasing rapidly due to high population growth rates andeconomic development. Furthermore, climate projections for the easternMediterranean indicate future aridification. Temperature increases andprolonged drought periods over the past decades which have reducedsurface and groundwater resources to record lows may be firstindications of this trend.

Figure from EXACT 1998:

Fourbiogeographical regions meet in the Jordan River basin making it amajor biodiversity hotspot of global conservation concern. Ecosystemsin the region are extremely diverse, ranging from sub-humidMediterranean environments to arid climates across very smalldistances. This makes these ecosystems highly vulnerable to changes inclimate and land use.

Irrigationconsumes about two thirds of the region’s surface and ground water("blue water") resources. Most of the surface water is located in theupper basin of the Jordan River, from where large amounts of water areexported to the south and beyond the basin.

Whileblue water resources are fully exploited or even over-exploited, thereis potential to increase water productivity of the region’s "greenwater" (i.e. soil water from precipitation), for the benefits of humansand ecosystems.

The region'savailable surface and groundwater resources are largely transboundary,and their distribution adds conflict potential. Strategies forsustainable water management must be based on collaboration between thevarious regional stakeholders and on sound scientific knowledge.

The first phase of GLOWA JR was from 2001-2005. The second phase was from September 2005-2008. Since January 2009 GLOWA JR is in its third phase. 

Website of the project

Project number n/a
Acronym GLOWA JR
Geographical coverage Jordan
Budget (in €) 0
Programme The global water cycle (GLOWA) programme of the BMBF
Web site

The GLOWA Jordan River project provides scientific support for improved water management in a highly water-stressed region. Its mandate is based on the general goals of the GLOWA programme of the BMBF which are the provision of “simulation tools and instruments to develop and realize strategies for sustainable water management”.

GLOWA JR can build upon the rich experience on adaptation to water scarcity and climate variability in the Jordan River region. However, previous activities either lack scientific support, they do not address global change impacts, or they are purely scientific.

The specific niche and strength of GLOWA JR is

  • its focus on interacting global change processes, such as climate and land use change,
  • the integrative and interdisciplinary approach, and
  • the continuous dialogue between scientists and stakeholders

The central goal is to increase the benefits from the region’s water be for humans and ecosystems, under global change.

To that end, GLOWA JR provides an innovative framework for assessing blue, green and non-conventional water management, overcoming the traditionally fragmented approach to sustainable resource management.

Period [01/01/2001 - 31/12/2009]