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Responding to Jordan’s Drought and Water Scarcity with Behavioral Change

Improved irrigation and agricultural practices are touted as efficient ways to mitigate drought impacts. Paradoxically, that may not be the case in Jordan, where the use of state-of-the-art irrigation technology by commercial farmers in the East has accelerated the depletion of aquifers. A recent IWMI study argues that technology has to go hand-in-hand with improved irrigation behaviors and regulations to result in reduced water abstraction and ramp-up the country’s hydric mitigation of frequent drought events. As one of the world’s most water-deprived countries, Jordan is struggling to deliver enough fresh water to its population and farmers. Water access is particularly erratic during drought events, which have been increasing in frequency and severity. Groundwater levels drop by roughly a meter annually, the result of prolonged drought and of the proliferation of thousands of illegal wells that are pumping the country’s aquifers to extinction.