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News Jordan: Auja Farmers struggle to get their water rights

The Auja Spring in the Jordan Valley used to be one of the largest springs in Palestine, providing water to the Auja community and its thousands of sheep, and irrigating 130,000 dunams of land.

Currently, the construction of a series of deep Israeli wells in the Auja Valley has led to the almost total drying out of the source, forcing local farmers to abandon agriculture and take day jobs in nearby settlements.The Jordan Valley (Al-Ghor) and the area of Auja are not productive anymore.

We don't get a single cubic metre of water from the Jordan River. We have no right to it because it is a closed military area. Before 1967 we were able to reach the Jordan River and use its water for irrigation. It is only 6-7km from Auja, but we cannot go there.

The people who lived near the Jordan River were expulsed, the Israelis closed it and the farmers from there came to live around Auja. They now live here and they can't go to the Ghor anymore, they don't have the ownership over their land there.

From the Source visited the village of Auja and spoke to its mayor Sulaiman Romaniin about water, settlements and the future of Auja. "We need a solution, a sustainable source of water," Romaniin said. "We want our water rights. Even if we can't get all of our rights, we would like at least half of them."


From the Source is a non-profit multimedia initiative which tells the story of the water crisis in the Middle East and North Africa in image and text. Established in March 2009 by passionate documentary filmmaker Joshka Wessels and journalist Francesca de Chatel, From the Source is developing a network of like-minded print journalists, filmmakers and photographers who are keen to report on water and environmental issues from the field. As part of the initiative, we also organise trainings for young journalists in the region to improve their environmental reporting skills and increase public awareness of the growing water crisis. 

Contact information Joshka Wessels, Maastricht, Netherlands (email:
News type Inbrief
File link
Source of information The Source Blog, 23 April 2010
Geographical coverage Jordan, Israel, Palestine
News date 11/05/2010
Working language(s) ENGLISH