Zarqa Basin (Jordan)
• Water shortage and unreliable water provision.
• Unequal distribution of water, or unavailability of water in some areas.
• Industrial pollution.
• Lack of awareness and solid waste pollution of the river.
• Waste-water treatment plant over-loaded.
• River pollution an eye-sore and a health hazard to people living by it.
• Water is an expensive commodity for the poor.
• In some parts of the river, the water is unsuitable for certain types of agriculture, forcing poor farmers to purchase water, or grow vegetables illegally for sustenance.
b) Potential stories
• Sewage in their river, but fresh water in their backyard; the children in Ain al Ghazal.
• Surviving on very little; the life of a nomadic young boy.
• Laila in the spinach fields; a glance at the life of a farmer girl.
• The Zarqa river travels from its origins in Amman, meeting three very unique children along the way, each telling their own unique tale.
The King Talal Dam is where water from the Zarqa river is collected, treated, and later on released downstream. Once a highly frequented picnic location for many Jordanians, the King Talal Dam and its scenic surrounding areas are now out of bounds to all, except for those with special permits.
For nomads like Hasan and his brother Suleiman, life is down to the basics. At the heart of this is one of life’s most important ingredients; water.
The Zarqa governorate is of one of Jordan’s driest areas, and most polluted. For children such as Razan and her sister Marah, drinking water must be purchased and never drunk from the tap. This is a lesson taught to children at an early age.
Though their home is simple and their furnishings modest, they can afford a commodity that many deem expensive. For many Jordanians, when it comes to drinking water it’s either from a bottle or a filter, but never from a tap.
Devoid of any moisture and life, soils are parched dry in some areas of the Kingdome with annual rainfall averaging at only 272.8 mm. Short and unreliable rainy seasons, along with increased water extraction are exacerbating Jordan’s desertification problem.
A picture truly speaks a thousand words! When Taco Anema wanted to photograph the children with their cameras, on the count of three the children of Ain Al Ghazal photographed Taco instead.
The day’s last rays of light bring together Hasan and his brother Suleiman as they carry water back to the tent, probably from a well or a water tank they have stationed further off.
Jordan is one of the poorest countries in water, and yet, wastage and misuse of this resource is widespread. Here, truck drivers fill up their trucks and prepare to deliver water to buyers.
Just as older generations enjoyed a clean and safe environment, so too should future generations; respect for water as a scarce and precious resource should be passed on from one generation to the next, just like respect for the elderly.