Can Jordan's dams withstand `flash floods` due to climate change?

2023-09-25 2023-09-25T20:45:16Z
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Weather of Arabia - Following the disasters that affected Libya and Morocco, including earthquakes and floods, many questions arise about Jordan's ability to cope with such natural disasters. In this regard, experts in the field of water and environment indicated that Jordan's dams are prepared to receive heavy rains, however the Kingdom needs to construct more dams in low-lying areas.

Water expert Maysoon Al-Zoubi indicated that the dams in Jordan are prepared to receive a heavy rainy season, and there is no need to worry about their collapse as a result of flash floods. She confirmed that these dams are capable of withstanding the pressures of flooding and filling, and pointed out that flash floods are a signal of climate change and include very heavy rainfall in a short period. It is expected that the dams will be filled by between 40% and 50% during the next rainy season.

Regarding the dams, Al-Zoubi confirmed that the current situation indicates that the dams are almost empty, and in the event of a flood in Jordan, the rain may not be sufficient to fill the dams. She indicated that the early warning systems in dams are good, but she raised an important question about the possibility of conducting effective and rapid evacuation operations in the event of an early warning being issued by a dam, noting the necessity of providing the necessary mechanisms and qualifications for this.

Dr.. Duraid Mahasneh, a water and environment expert, confirmed that dams in Jordan were built well and tightly on valleys, and this helps reduce the risk of floods. He stressed the importance of maintaining dams regularly, noting that Jordan pays great attention to maintaining dams and removing sediments from them. There is cooperation between the Ministry of Water, the Jordan Valley Authority, and the Armed Forces to ensure the safety and health of these vital water structures.

He explained that the management of dams in Jordan is done well, and that the large amounts of rain that fall usually do not fill the entire capacity of the dams. In the event that a dam is filled with large amounts of water, the government will take the necessary measures to manage this situation.

The percentage of current water dam assets is 29% (80 million cubic meters out of 280 million cubic meters of the total real capacity of all dams), according to the Jordan Valley Authority.

Dr. Duraid Mahasneh pointed out that the storage rate of dams in Jordan currently stands at 29%, which is a low percentage and does not pose a major risk. However, he pointed out the importance of carefully monitoring the situation when dam storage reaches 60% or more. He called for taking preventive measures, such as preventing construction in valleys and floodwaters, to reduce the recurrence of disasters.

He also pointed out the importance of not erecting buildings in flood channels. In the past, there were valleys extending from the east of the Kingdom to Zarqa, Amman and the Jordan Valley, but these streams must be preserved and buildings should not be allowed to be built in them.

Flash floods, how and where do they occur?

Al-Zoubi explained that floods usually occur in countries that contain large amounts of water, adding that flash floods are devastating to lives and property, but work must be done to mitigate their occurrence and enable us to benefit from rainwater at the same time.

In the same context, Mahasneh explained that there is a change in the pattern of rainfall. In the past, it used to fall over a longer period of time compared to recent times, adding, “Today, with climate change, there has been a sudden rush of water, with rain falling heavily and quickly.”

Mahasneh warned that Jordan is vulnerable to flash floods, which occur as a result of rain falling slowly within 4 days or through a storm with intense and urgent rain, forming torrents and floods in the valleys. This phenomenon has begun to increase around the world.

He added that hurricanes may occur in areas containing large seas and rivers, yet no place is immune from hurricanes, but Jordan is not like that and will not be exposed to a hurricane as strong as what Libya was exposed to, adding that the Dead Sea is very low, its waves are light, and hurricanes do not occur there. .

It is noteworthy that Jordan's geographical location is not vulnerable to tropical cyclones, according to the National Center for Security and Crisis Management
Mahasneh pointed out that what Jordan may be exposed to is heavy rain and storms that may lead to soil erosion or the overflow of dams, if care is not taken to reduce the load on them, but the Ministry is keen to avoid overflowing dams.

Regarding the areas most vulnerable to flash floods in Jordan, she said that they are the open areas, the Dead Sea basin, Mafraq in the north, and any sloping area that is not equipped to reduce the speed and force of the water, warning that “what happened in the Dead Sea, if repeated, will happen with the same force.”

Al-Zoubi pointed out that valleys that do not contain more dams are vulnerable to flash floods. Therefore, dams must be built on them and interventions must be made to prevent floods.

Mahasneh also warned that what happened in the Dead Sea a few years ago could be repeated in the form of torrents, as there are valleys that do not have dams, noting that paths have been made through which water leaks into the Dead Sea or nearby dams. Like a positive dam.

Al-Zoubi said that the Ministry was alerted to the issue of sediments in the dams, and what it concluded with the Royal Engineering Corps is an excellent measure, especially since the sediments take up an area of the dam’s capacity, as the Authority signed an agreement with the Corps to remove sediments from the Wadi Shuaib, Al-Wala, and Mujib dams (the most flooded dams), in addition to To implement a canal linking Wadi Shuaib Dam to the King Abdullah Canal, to drain the surplus quantities into it.

She added that removing sediments can only be done if the dam is dry, while it is difficult to do so when the dam is full, calling for making use of dam water designated for agriculture. By planting the lands surrounding the dams with seasonal crops, for example; So that the government does not have to transport water long distances.

Source: Al-Ghad

This article was written originally in Arabic and is translated using a 3rd party automated service. ArabiaWeather is not responsible for any grammatical errors whatsoever.
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