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Farmers urged to use rainwater harvesting techniques

By Hana Namrouqa - Oct 25,2014 - Last updated at Oct 25,2014

AMMAN — The Agriculture Ministry on Saturday urged farmers to construct ponds and reservoirs to collect rainwater during winter for the irrigation of crops and livestock during the dry season.

Ponds and reservoirs are low-cost and low-maintenance water harvesting techniques that farmers can use to store rainwater during winter, Agriculture Ministry Spokesperson Nimer Haddadin told The Jordan Times.

“With ponds and reservoirs, farmers are gaining a clean and sustainable source of water for their crops and livestock during summer, when the amount of irrigation water drops,” Haddadin said.

Farmers should start building the reservoirs and ponds before the start of the rainy season, and the water stored during winter should also be protected in a way to prevent evaporation or loss, he added.

“Ponds and reservoirs are means to address water shortage in the country, especially during summer, and also a great way to benefit from rainwater, 85 per cent which is wasted through either evaporation or runoff,” Haddadin noted.

The government official said farmers can benefit from the Agricultural Credit Corporation, which extends soft agricultural loans for applying rainwater harvesting techniques at farms.

“There are also much simpler ways to benefit from rainwater during winter, such as digging holes around trees to trap rainwater or applying contour farming opposite to the runoff direction to prevent soil erosion and also trap more water.”

Jordan, the world’s second water poorest country, witnesses its first rainfall in mid-September or early October, while the wet season usually continues until February, according to the Jordan Meteorological Department.

Water Ministry Spokesperson Omar Salameh told The Jordan Times on Saturday that the country received 226 million cubic metres of rainwater since the start of the wet season, constituting 2.7 per cent of Jordan’s long-term annual average of 8 billion cubic metres.

The Kingdom relies mainly on rainwater, but only 1.1 per cent of its total area receives an average of 400-600 millimetres of rain a year, according to official figures.

Approximately 91 per cent of Jordan’s total area of 97,000 square kilometres is situated in arid areas with an annual rainfall average of 50-200 millimetres, while 2.9 per cent of the country’s land is categorised as semi-arid.

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