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Water withdrawal varies according to the year. It was around 866 and 941 million m3 in 2004 and 2005 respectively. In 2005, agricultural water withdrawal accounted for 65 percent of the total water withdrawal and water withdrawal for domestic and industrial purposes accounted for 31 and 4 percent respectively (Table 3 and Figure 1).
During periods of water shortage strict measures are taken, such as rationing water allocations and reducing or banning the cultivation of irrigated summer vegetables. Overexploitation of renewable groundwater resources by farmers is a common practice. It reached 158 million m3 in 2002 and in 2003, 147 million m3 in 2004 and 144 million m3 in 2005 (Figure 2).
Treated wastewater is discharged to open wadis where it flows either to the reuse sites or to dams and is then mixed with rainwater or base flows. Different irrigation methods are used depending on the effluent quality, the type of crops irrigated and the availability of mixing water. Furrow, flooding and localized irrigation methods are used. Sprinkler irrigation is not used, in compliance with the Jordanian Standards for reuse from a health point of view. Also, chloride concentration in effluents exceeds the permissible limit for the use of sprinklers, which affects the crops adversely.
Although most of the treated wastewater flows by gravity to wadis and reservoirs, effluents from plants are pumped to reuse sites such as Madaba, Aqaba, Kufranja and Ma’an. Part of the effluent from Aqaba and Madaba is disposed of through evaporation when the quantity exceeds agricultural needs. While some factories and industries reuse part of the industrial water on a small scale and mainly for cooling purposes, this water is generally reused for on-site irrigation (MWI, 2002).