Study Region

The SALAM study area covers the territory of Israel and Jordan, as well as the Palestinian territory, including the Gaza Strip.

The area is characterised by extreme water scarcity due to the semi-arid climatic conditions, limited water availability and the constantly growing demand for water. (Ground)water contamination, especially by untreated wastewater, as well as inefficient water use and insufficiently integrated management, contribute to the further deterioration of the water supply situation.

The Jordan area under investigation extends from the Syrian border in the north to the Red Sea in the south. The larger settlements lie along the crest of the mountain ridges. In the west, from south to north, there are the cities of Hebron, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Nablus, in the east the cities of Madabah, Amman, Salt and Irbid. The largest city in the Jordan Valley itself is Jericho, which lies a little to the north, not far from the Dead Sea. This valley has enormous potential for agricultural development, as it resembles a natural greenhouse in many ways due to the sunlight and warm temperatures. However, the limiting factor is the scarcity of water, which affects not only agriculture but also tourism and industrial development.

The climate is characterized by an extremely high temporal and spatial variability of the available water resources (precipitation, groundwater recharge, flood runoff, spring discharge). Besides, the dynamics of supply and demand are inverted. Indeed, the water demand is the highest when the supply is the lowest, which leads to extreme bottlenecks in the water supply. Water technologies and management concepts adapted to regional conditions are necessary to meet the water demand. Due to their high storage capacity and the protection that they offer to prevent evaporation and contamination, the regional aquifers play a very important role. The necessary joint water management by Israel, Palestine and Jordan is made considerably more difficult on one hand by a tense political situation and on the other hand by a complex hydrogeological system with extremely high system dynamics.