Which is Worse?

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Thu 7 September / Sep 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

Which is worse; the budget deficit and building public debt or the exhaustion of our water supply and the receding Jordanian’s share of water in the last few years?

These issues are almost equally dangerous, and both constitute valid, significant threats to our national security.

However, water scarcity and the exhaustion of our resources poses an unrivalled skill to our very existence; to the habitability of the country itself.

Still, it remains secondary to our list of national priorities; both officially and publically.

Very little mind is given to the growing issue of our depleting water resources.

Debt and deficits are imminent, current threats. They summon the entirety of our nation’s attention.

When it comes to water, which is a strategic issue, barely a serious thought is ever given to the threats of water deficiency and scarcity.

No proposed resolutions, and no prospected scenarios.

There is no International Fund to intervene when our waters run dry!

According a report published two days ago, by our colleague, Farah Atyat, featuring an American study on the drought in Jordan, it seems we are to see a 30 per cent decline in rainfall and a 4.5 per cent increase in temperature within the century.

The study concluded that by 2100, Jordan will see 28 dry years out of every 30.

Currently Jordan endures one drought year for every seven, out of 30.

This is no joke.

Still, some say this is only hypotheses, and that we shouldn’t base our policies on hypotheses; delusions even, some would say.

This would have been a valid point had there not been an abundance of current evidence on the underway shift in Jordan’s climate.

Jordan has just slipped, not long ago, down from being one of the world’s 10 poorest countries in water resources, to one of the world’s poorest four, to the world’s water-poorest country today!

I haven’t come across an accurate average for water consumption per capita in Jordan, over the last few years, probably due to fluctuating water pressures. But in the last two years, the average share per capita for Jordanian citizens hovers around 80 cubic metres, annually.

Worldwide, individual consumption reaches up to 1,500 cubic metres every year; the difference is humongous!

Needless to say, the influx of Syrian refugees in Jordan has had a significant effect on the individual’s share of water in the last few years.

Not to mention the relative drought and the scale of waste and water theft.

Meanwhile, 45 per cent of the water in circulation goes to waste, because of our grids and infrastructures.

According to the Minister of Water and Irrigation, 30 per cent of this waste is water theft!

Eventually, it is an understatement to say that we have a serious problem in Jordan.

To say the least, our water problem is existential, and the threat entailed by its culmination is devastating.

As crucial as it is that we combat tax evasion, more so is combating water-theft.

It is crucial that we optimise water extraction, distribution, and consumption mechanisms.

Mindfully, such an endeavour must be societally and popularly supported.

Otherwise, it won’t work!

There are several promising, nation-wide projects, soon underway, including the Dissi water reservoir project and the Two-Seas canal.

But talk about an outlasting drought and water scarcity; the further depletion of an individual’s share, all these issues require innovative, creative official approaches and strategies.

The same goes for almost every sector or forte of the government’s affairs. From economy to our water problems.

We need fundamental solutions on a strategic term, integrated into an encompassing public, national policy.

The miracle state of Jordan has only survived because of its ability to weather decisive political and existential storms with vigour, steadfastness, and wisdom.

In each of these trying stages, the world had gasped at our successful passage.

As a result, Jordan became one of the region’s most stable countries, if not the most stable.

Therefore, our perspective and outlook must not centre on the political and economic aspects of our reality alone.

Instead, we need to understand the reality of our situation on a far deeper, strategic level.

Water scarcity is a far more dangerous threat, and its peril will be merciless.

The least we can do about it is go over all these studies and discuss them to uncover the imminence of this threat and what we can do about it!

This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.