The Jordan River is the source of life for many countries lying inthe Jordan basin. The five political subdivisions neighboring thebasin are Israel, West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan (Comair et al.2014). The river is supposed to be the source of reprieve for thedrought- stricken countries of the Middle East but instead, it hasbeen the root cause of Arab- Israeli conflict and Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For the better part of it, the Jordan Riverflows below sea level. It traces its origin to the high rainfallareas in the mountains of Anti- Lebanon. It then flows through theSea of Galilee into the Jordan Valley. Finally, the river enters theDead Sea at minus 400 meters above sea level. Main tributaries jointhe river along the Jordan Valley. Downstream from the valley, theriver enters a series of meanders therefore increasing its length. Intotal, the river covers 156 Miles. This essay seeks to address thegeo aquatic issues of the Jordan River.
The volumes of water in River Jordan have drastically reduced tooveruse. Historically, the estimated annual volume of waterdischarged into the Dead Sea was 1,300 MCM. However, in the currentgeneration, the river only deposits about 20- 200 Million CubicMeters into the Dead Sea (Comair et al. 2013). The increasing humanpopulation upstream is to blame for the reducing levels of water.Humans use the water for domestic purposes, Agriculture, andindustry. The use of the Jordan River is greatly imbalanced. TheJordan Basin supports about 150,000 ha of irrigated land. 30% ofthese irrigated lands belong to Israel, Jordan and Syria. Lebanon andPalestine own a paltry 3% of irrigated land in the Jordan Basin. Inaddition, Syria has built several dams in YarmoukRiver, which is oneof the major tributaries of the Jordan River. All these uses havedrastically lowered the water volume of Jordan River.
The water quality of River Jordan has greatly deteriorated (Ghrefatet al. 2012). The upper parts of the river have fairly potable water.The downstream areas of the river near the Dead Sea are in a patheticcondition. The major contributor to the low quality of water ispollution. Industries are notorious for depositing untreatedindustrial waste into the river. Municipal governments are alsoresponsible for releasing raw sewage into the river. Irrigationactivities upstream contribute to the sludge that interferes with theflow of water downstream. The diverted springs from Lake Tiberius andagricultural waste are responsible for brackish waters at LowerJordan. The deteriorating quality of water poses a number of risks tothe well being of the local ecosystem. Among them are the decline ofthe Dead Sea, underground seepage and saline water intrusion (Inbar,2012).
In conclusion, River Jordan was a blessing to the people of Israel,Syria, Jordan, west lands and Palestine. However, human activitiesand conflicts have been the major undoing to the previous benefitsdue to the river. Human activities such as irrigation and buildingdams have led to a sharp decrease in the water volume. Pollution atthe downstream areas of the River is at an all- time high. Theformerly crystal clear waters have now turned brackish. The majorsources of pollution are industries, raw sewage and river diversions.If the situation persists, the Dead sea is likely to decline.
Comair, G. F., Gupta, P., Ingenloff, C., Shin, G., & McKinney, D.C. (2013). Water resources management in the Jordan River Basin.Water and Environment Journal, 27(4), 495-504.
Comair, G. F., McKinney, D. C., Maidment, D. R., Espinoza, G.,Sangiredy, H., Fayad, A., & Salas, F. R. (2014). Hydrology of theJordan River Basin: a GIS-based system to better guide waterresources management and decision making. Water resourcesmanagement, 28(4), 933-946.
Ghrefat, H. A., Yusuf, N., Jamarh, A., &Nazzal, J. (2012).Fractionation and risk assessment of heavy metals in soil samplescollected along Zerqa River, Jordan. Environmental Earth Sciences,66(1), 199-208.
Inbar, M. (2012). Measurement of fluvial sediment transport comparedwith lacustrine sedimentation rates: the flow of the River Jordaninto Lake Kinneret. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 27(4), 439-449