Jordan is one of the five driest countries in the world. Annual consumption per capita (calculated as renewable water resources withdrawn) is about 170 cubic metres, compared with 630 as the world average, 800 across the Middle East/North Africa region – and 1,650 in North America. Almost a third of the water used in Jordan comes from non-sustainable or non-renewable sources. Three decades of pumping from the once-abundant Azraq oasis has brought it to the point of collapse. The River Yarmouk sports a large dam shared by Jordan and Syria, and all the major valleys leading down to the Dead Sea are now dammed in an effort to stop water draining into the salty lake – which has contributed to its rapid shrinking. Every winter the local newspapers publish reports tabulating levels of water storage in the country’s reservoirs, while Jordanians anxiously wait for rain. Water rationing is in place in Amman over the summer. A scheme to pipe water to Amman from desert aquifers at Disi is already under way, and plans are afoot for desalination plants on the Red Sea, possibly – and very controversially – to be powered by a nuclear plant.

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12 of the most beautiful places in the Middle East

12 of the most beautiful places in the Middle East

The Middle East is a paradox. Located at the cultural crossroads between east and west, the region nowadays tends to make headlines for all the wrong reasons, b…

16 Nov 2016 • Gavin Thomas insert_drive_file Article
Middle Eastern majesty: 17 beautiful pictures of Jordan

Middle Eastern majesty: 17 beautiful pictures of Jordan

We chose Jordan as one of the top destinations to visit in 2016, and after looking at these stunning photographs from Picfair's best photographers, you'll und…

31 Oct 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Twenty places to make you feel insignificant

Twenty places to make you feel insignificant

French novelist Gustave Flaubert once said: “Travelling makes one modest – you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world”. With this in mind, here a…

27 Aug 2014 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
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