Anders Bekeken

100 Places To Remember: Amman Jordan

Geschreven op 21-5-2010 - Erik van Erne. Geplaatst in Iets anders Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

100places to rememberWater, not Oil, is the Worlds Most Important Natural Resource. More than three million people roughly half of Jordans population crowd into the capital, Amman. The city is ideally located on a series of hills between the desert and the fertile Jordan Valley below, where the Jordan River runs, supplying the city with drinking water.

Dwellings cling to the hillsides of East Amman, the oldest part of the city, clustered together with small shops and bazaars. The population of Amman has grown rapidly in recent decades. New buildings and districts have mushroomed, partly due to an influx of refugees from the disputed Palestinian territories and Iraq, partly due to inward migration from rural areas.

Every drop of water is precious in Jordan. Although it is one of the ten most arid nations in the world and 80% of it consists of desert, agriculture is the primary source of employment in the poorest rural areas, where vegetables, wheat and barley are grown on small farms, usually run by families.

The Jordan River, which flows into the Dead Sea, is the only river system in the country and a vitally important resource. Water is a controversial issue in Jordan. The expanding city needs drinking water. Farmers need to irrigate their crops. Water rights also fuel disputes between Jordan and Israel on opposite sides of the river, and with the Palestinians on the West Bank.

The substantial decrease in the flow of the Jordan River in recent decades, due to a combination of human exploitation and climate change, partly explains why the water level of the Dead Sea is plummeting by a metre a year. The soil in the Jordan Valley is becoming less fertile, forcing farmers to migrate to the city and turning farmland into desert. With temperatures projected to rise and precipitation to fall, water shortages will continue to fuel tension in the region, encourage migration to Amman and put further pressure on the citys water supply.

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