A recent Facebook post of mine went something like this:
“Thank you Amman drivers for giving me my first experience of being drenched by an oncoming car and the rain water from the huge puddles that appear from flooding due to a lack of a pipe drainage system.
Its never happened in NYC or DC but Amman you never cease to surprise me lol”
Last week it rained in the desert. When I say it rained I mean every single day there was a heavy dosage of water added to the flooding that was already taking place on the streets of Amman. Apparently it is the rainy season according to The Jordan Times, and the rain we had only made up 64% of rain totals from last year; meaning, this rain is not enough to carry the country through the summer without drought.
Jordan, as a country with mostly desert, relies on its dams and rivers to supply water to the 4 million people that live in Amman alone. Unfortunately, the rivers and bodies of waters surrounding Jordan are shared with other countries like Israel that also take from the same water resources. So as any environmentalist knows this means a tragedy of the commons for water resources in Jordan.
Water is precious, I know as Americans we hear that all the time, and yet it hadn't really struck me until I came to Jordan. Daily life runs on the amount of water available to people. My host family has a water tank that is filled every week. When I wake up in the morning I am constantly reminded of this in my attempt to take a shower. There are two switches in the room that must be turned on in order to heat up the water. Once those are on, there is a process of waiting from 15 minutes to an hour. Most of the time I am impatient or I need to get ready for school so I hop in when the dial on the tank is a quarter full. Warm water in the shower will then only last about 5 minutes—if I’m lucky. I have learned to keep my showering time to a minimum.
Before I head off to school most of the time, I fill up my one liter water bottle from a water cooler in my room. The cooler will be our potable water for a little less than a week. Once that potable water runs out we will have to refill with another water cooler.
Water has a rocky future, not just in Jordan but on the entire planet. Some strategies that are widely considered are desalinization of water in Jordan from the Suez and Mediterranean. But these ideas are far from coming to fruition.
For now I am left with quick showers, purified water, and long rainy days.