Jordan: Drought may claim thousands of olive trees
Persistent drought in the south could lead to the decimation of thousands of olive trees in the city of Karak, 120km south of Amman, according to environmentalists, who blame climate change.
"We witness in summer a dramatic increase in temperatures and in winter a lack of rain," said Ahmed Koufahi, executive director of the Jordan Environment Society.
Farmers said at least 30,000 olive trees were on the brink of turning to dead wood after springs in the area dried up. Many farmers resorted to purchasing water from tanks in the city, but the high cost prevented them from splashing out continuously.
At least 20 springs have provided the mangroves with water over the past decades, helping residents turn their town into a small green oasis. But successive declines in levels of rain water have dried up almost 15 springs, said environmentalists. Local residents use the springs for washing and cooking as the authorities often ration water to households in cities and towns across the kingdom because of chronic shortages.
In addition, the government has adopted a policy against digging underground water springs in an attempt to preserve water. According to Aktham Mdanat, head of the Karak agriculture department, the drought is expected to lead to a 50 percent drop in this year's olive production. Residents of the town (population 7,000) have called for the construction of dams to help collect as much rainwater as possible during the winter season.
Jordan is one of the 10 most water-impoverished countries in the world. The desert kingdom has no river capable of providing the country with enough water as the Jordan River has turned into a small stream after its tributaries were diverted by Israel for agricultural purposes, according to Salameh Hiari, a professor at the University of Jordan. Nor does it have natural lakes. It depends solely on rain to supply its population of 5.6 million.
Irin News - © IRIN 2008.
|Source of information||Irin News - © IRIN 2008.|
|Keyword(s)||climate change, drought, olive trees, rain water, dams|
|Subject(s)||AGRICULTURE , DRINKING WATER , DRINKING WATER AND SANITATION : COMMON PROCESSES OF PURIFICATION AND TREATMENT , HYDRAULICS - HYDROLOGY , INFRASTRUCTURES , NATURAL MEDIUM , POLICY-WATER POLICY AND WATER MANAGEMENT , RISKS AND CLIMATOLOGY , WATER DEMAND|