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Ghaith H. Fariz, Azraq Oasis Conservation Project
Alia Hatough-Bouran, IUCN National Coordinator, University of Jordan
The Azraq Oasis in Jordan is an example of the potential for success of environmental rehabilitation efforts. The major determinants of this success were national and international support, the availability of adequate financial resources, proper management of available supplies of water, and, above all, the willingness to act to preserve the natural environment.
Located in the heart of the Jordanian Badia, the Azraq Oasis, with its permanent fresh waters and springs, is a rich habitat. In addition to providing the natural habitat for numerous unique indigenous aquatic and terrestrial species, the oasis is nationally and internationally acclaimed as a major station for migratory birds. Despite its significance, the area was almost destroyed by environmentally damaging activities. Most of the Azraq Oasis had dried out, and its soil quality had drastically deteriorated.
Through joint funding by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Azraq Oasis Conservation Project was initiated in 1994. The main goal of the project has been to restore the environmental equilibrium in the Azraq area as a whole, serving the socioeconomic needs of the people in a sustainable manner.
Azraq is, in general, a water surplus area. Its wetlands have fallen victim to escalating water needs in the water-scarce country of Jordan. Ever-increasing demands for water in the country, and particularly in the rapidly growing city of Amman, resulted in large-scale pumping from the Azraq Basin. Pumping for urban needs escalated from about two million cubic meters (m3) in 1979 to about 25 million m3 in 1993. A huge expansion in agriculture in the region drained an additional 25 million m3 per year from the basin. This level of exploitation is approximately double the proven annual natural recharge of 25 million m3 per year, clearly highlighting the major cause of the environmental degradation that the area has been suffering. The roots of the problem lie in part in the countryís rapid population increase and its changes in lifestyle.
Jordan is centrally located in the Middle East, sharing borders with Syria to the north, Saudi Arabia to the south and southeast, Iraq to the east, and Israel and the Occupied Territories to the west. The country would be landlocked if not for the small (26 kilometers long) shore in Aqaba on the tip of the Gulf of Aqaba, which gives the country its only port and access to the sea. The area of Jordan is 90,000 square kilometers (km2), of which over 80 percent is desert.
The population of Jordan has grown at an ever-increasing rate since the end of World War II. From an estimated 586,200 people in 1952, the population grew to 900,800 by 1961 (the date of the first population census) and to 2,133,000 by 1979 (the date of the second census). In 1988 the total population of Jordan was estimated to be just over three million (Department of Statistics, 1988). By the beginning of 1990 the population was estimated to be 3,453,000 and increasing at a rate of 3.4 percent annually (National Population Commission, 1991). The latest census, conducted in 1995, demonstrated that the population of Jordan was about 4.2 million, and still increasing at 3.4 percent per year.
The population is unevenly distributed throughout the country, with about 88 percent living in the northern and central parts of the country. Distribution is heavily biased towards the capital city region (Amman-Zarqa), which holds more than 55 percent of the total population. The population is young, with 43.7 percent of the population under 15 years of age. Life expectancy is 66 years, and the infant mortality rate is 34.6 (National Population Commission, 1991).
Climate and Topography
The climatic zones of Jordan are highly diverse, yet easily classified according to longitudinal trends. The country is divided into three main elevation zones. Starting from the west, the first zone is the Jordan Valley (Ghor). The Jordan Valley extends from near the northern tip of the country, beside Lake Tiberias, to the Dead Sea, to Wadi Araba, and finally to Aqaba on the southern tip of the country. Most of the Jordan Valley is below sea level, and the region includes the lowest point on the earthís surface (396 meters below sea level). The climate in this zone is considered semitropical, with summers reaching an average high temperature of 31 Centigrade (C), and warm winters attaining an average temperature of 15C.
The second zone is the highlands, east of the Jordan Valley and also extending from the northern to the southern tip of the country. The highlands vary in elevation from 100 to 1,500 meters above sea level. The climate in this zone is ìmoderate Mediterranean.î In the summer the climate is dry, with an average temperature of 22 C. In the winter, although temperatures can drop to below freezing in the high mountainous area, the area is characterized by mild temperatures, averaging 7 C.
The third main zone is the desert zone, a low elevation area that includes all the lands to the east of the mountains. Summers are hot and dry, with temperatures averaging 29 C, and the winter is cool, with temperature averaging 5 C.
In addition, there are two sub-zones, or ìtransitional regions,î located between the three main zones. The first lies between the Jordan Valley and the highlands, and the second lies between the highlands and the desert. These are the zones that include the so-called marginal lands, which are a major focus of the research under discussion in this paper. While the desertís status is well identified, and the Jordan Valley is well developed from an environmental point of view, the status of these marginal lands will eventually be determined by the kind of exploitation to which they are subjected. These lands have potential, yet they are currently suffering the most severe form of environmental degradation: Desertification. The area at the desert margins is estimated to be about 12 million dunums(1 dunum @ 0.001km2 or 0.1 hectare).This area represents about 13 percent of the total area of the country.
Rainfall in the country is predominantly caused by moisture-saturated clouds coming from the Mediterranean Sea to the west. Most of the rain falls on the mountainous areas of the country, with marginal amounts falling on the Jordan Valley, and even less on the desert.
Only 1.1 percent of the country receives an average of over 500 millimeters (mm) of rain per year. Another 1.8 percent of the country receives 300 to 500 mm, and 5.7 percent receives 200 to 300 mm. The rest of the countryó91.4 percentóreceives less than 200 mm of rain per year. The rain is highly variable from one season to the next in both spatial and quantitative terms. Areas that receive an average of 100 or 200 mm per year overall often receive much less in a given season; such is the case in the study region of Azraq.
Water resources are meager in relation to population size and amount of arable lands. Both surface and underground waters are highly dependent on rainfall; thus, fluctuation in rainfall is a great hazard for both the population and the environment. The total quantity of rainwater that falls on Jordan is estimated to be 8,425 million m3 per year on average, and varies between about 6,235 and 10,630 million m3 per year (Ministry of Water and Irrigation, 1991). Of the total rainfall, 92.2 percent evaporates, 5.4 percent goes to the recharge of underground aquifers, and 2.4 percent runs off as surface water. The Yarmouk River contains about 40 percent of the surface water of the country.
Aquifers are found throughout Jordan. The safe production level of the shallow renewable aquifers is estimated to be 275 million m3 per year (Ministry of Water and Irrigation, 1991). In 1990 180 million m3 of water were consumed for municipal uses, along with 657 for agricultural purposes and 43 for industrial purposes. Of this total of 880 million m3, about 520 million m3 came from underground water. Of this 520, about 190 were mined from nonrenewable aquifers, with the rest coming from renewable aquifers. Safe production levels were and still are being vastly exceeded.
Many aquifers go out of production every year because of a decline in the quality and quantity of their waters (Ministry of Water and Irrigation, 1991). The problem of water scarcity in the country is escalating, as the demand for water increases dramatically along with the population. By the year 2005 the shortfall is expected to be at least 143 million m3 (Department of the Environment, 1989).
Jordan, as a state, emerged after the First World War under the name of The Emirate of Trans-Jordan. In 1946 the country gained full independence from England and renamed itself the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Two main determinants dictated the path of socioeconomic development of the country: regional politics and scarce natural resources.
With 80 percent of the land desert and water so scarce, agricultural production could not increase enough to meet the growing needs of the populace. Unlike many of its neighboring states, Jordan does not have other abundant natural resources, such as oil, to compensate for restricted agricultural development. Industries requiring substantial capital and skilled labor, as well as a technological base and markets, could not develop to sufficient levels. Political events of the Middle East, primarily the successive Arab-Israeli wars of 1948, 1967, 1973, and 1982, and the latest Gulf War in 1991, had direct impacts on the socioeconomic development of Jordan. As a result of the 1948 war, the West Bank was unified with Jordan.
This 5,540 km2 increase in territory, of which 40 percent was arable, provided a substantial expansion of natural environmental opportunities for the country. Nevertheless, this development did not have the expected positive effect on the socioeconomic development of the country, as it was absorbed by a relatively fast increase in population. With an influx of Palestinian refugees from territories occupied by Israel, and the added population of the West Bank, the population of the country swelled to over 1.1 million by 1952 (Department of Statistics, 1988), from about 370,000 before the 1948 war. This overnight tripling of the population imposed enormous pressures on the weak economy of the country in terms of increased demand for services, defense expenditures, jobs, and, most importantly, food.
Since the private sector was too weak to rely on for satisfactory development process, Jordan, like many less developed countries (LDCs), adopted central planning. Numerous government projects were initiated, while at the same time private investment was encouraged as well. In spite of difficulties, the Jordanian economy managed to grow steadily. The gross domestic product (GDP) grew from 50.5 million Jordanian Dinars (JD; 1 JD equals about US$3 in 1986 prices) in 1952 to 170.6 in 1966, indicating an annual real growth rate of 6.9 percent. The gross national product (GNP) grew at the even higher rate of 7.5 percent for the same period (Ministry of Planning, 1986).
Unfortunately, the 1967 war with Israel aborted this satisfactory growth rate. As a result of the war the West Bank and its arable lands were lost, together with many investments in agriculture, tourism, and industry. Implementation of the Seven Year Plan (1964 to 1970), which was steadily minimizing budget deficits and eliminating reliance on foreign aid, was stopped (Ministry of Planning, 1986). In addition to all these loses, an influx of Palestinian refugees exerted additional pressures on Jordanís war-devastated economy and infrastructure.
The second era in the economic development of the country was the period of economic hardship that extended from after the 1967 War until 1972. During this period the GDP grew only 4.6 percent. Gross fixed capital formation reached only 3.6 percent, compared to 11.1 percent during the period 1952 to 1966 (Ministry of Planning, 1986).
The third era in the socioeconomic development of the country extended from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. The economic situation started to improve after 1973. During the implementation of a new Three Year Development Plan (1973 to 1975), the GDP grew at a rate of 5.9 percent. The period from 1975 to 1980 was a time of economic boom. In the aftermath of the 1973 Arab-Israel war, Jordan enjoyed an economically positive spill-over effect of the expansion of the oil-producing Persian Gulf economies, instigated by enormous increases in oil prices.
Although Jordan itself does not have oil resources, high-paying employment opportunities in the Gulf led to an emigration of over 30 percent of the countryís skilled manpower to neighboring oil-rich countries. Expatriates pumped millions in much-needed hard currency into the Jordanian economy. From 1975 to 1980 official monetary transfers by Jordanians working abroad led to increases in gross disposable income amounting to an annual growth rate of 24 percent. Per capita income increased from 181 JD in 1973 to 709 JD in 1980 in constant 1986 prices. The GDP grew at an annual rate of 12.1 percent, slightly exceeding the planned 12 percent increase. While private industryís contribution increased from 11.2 to 18.8 percent of the economy during the period 1973 to 1980, the contribution of agriculture shrank from 12.1 to 7.1 percent for the same period (Ministry of Planning, 1986). Government expenditures were geared towards improving the infrastructure base to facilitate the rapidly growing economy.
The 1980 to 1985 Five Year Plan was based on assumptions of a continuation of the positive trends in the economy. These assumptions proved to be wrong. During this period the countryís economy encountered difficulties resulting from decreased outside help, decreased money transfers from Jordanians working abroad, and big trade and budget deficits that accumulated from an inflationary increase in consumption during the boom period. In 1980 prices, the transfers of Jordanians working abroad shrank from 398.7 million JD in 1980 to 253.1 million JD in 1985. Outside transfers to government shrank from 415 million JD in 1981 to 290 million JD in 1985.
Since many of the planned and implemented projects were financed by loans obtained on the assumption of continued external support promised by Arab countries, the decline in this support meant an increase in the budget deficit. Yet attitudes and behavior fostered by the boom era did not stop. Trends of increased consumption, urbanization, and construction of infrastructure continued to prevail. During this period the GDP grew at an average real rate of 4.2 percent, far short of the expected 11 percent. Nevertheless, public and private expenditures continued to rise, and the debt of the country grew.
The third Five Year Plan (1986 to 1990) can be described as an era of re-evaluation and adjustment. The plan envisioned moderate growth in both GNP and GDP. The major aims were to minimize the budget deficit and to maintain economic growth rates above population growth rates (Ministry of Planning, 1986). While some of the re-evaluation measures started to yield fruit, the country was nevertheless faced with a deep economic recession in 1987 and 1988.
In order to minimize budget deficits and manage declining economic conditions, the Jordanian government launched an adjustment program. External debts were rescheduled, and government expenditures were cut substantially. Most importantly, the Jordanian Dinar was devalued over 90 percent in a series of steps between 1988 and 1989. Per capita income was expected to be less than US$1,000 in 1990 (Ministry of Planning, 1989), as compared to US$1,540 in 1987 (World Bank, 1988).
Just when some of these painful measures started to generate improvements, the 1990 Gulf crisis emerged. Overnight, the population of the country increased by ten percent. An estimated 300,000 Jordanian expatriates were forced to leave their jobs in the Gulf and return to Jordan. With the embargo on Iraq and other closed markets in the Gulf, over 40 percent of the export markets for Jordanian goods and about two thirds of the hard currency transferred into Jordan were lost (Ministry of Planning, 1991), and unemployment reached unprecedented rates of over 20 percent in 1991 (National Population Commission, 1991).
Despite the fact that less than seven percent of the land area of Jordan is arable, agriculture was the occupation of the majority of the population until 1946 (Osborne,1981). Since that time socioeconomic and demographic changes in the country have dictated a decline in the status of agriculture in the economy. The agricultural sector contribution to the GDP during the period 1980 to 1985 was 7.9 percent, down from nine percent during the 1972 to 1975 period (Ministry of Planning, 1986). In terms of employment, agricultureís share had declined to 33.5 percent by 1961, and to about 12 percent by 1987 (Ministry of Agriculture, 1989). Nevertheless, a significant portion of the population continued to rely on agriculture as its main source of livelihood, and over 20 percent of the people continue to do so today. Agriculture made significant contributions to the economy from 1981 until 1987, including an average of 17 percent of the countryís total exports (Ministry of Agriculture, 1989).
Animal husbandry accounts for about 40 percent of the total agricultural production in the country (Ministry of Planning, 1986). The rest involves crop cultivation and manufacturing.
Cultivated lands comprise about five percent of the total land area (approximately 4,142 km2), and are classified into two categoriesóirrigated and rainfed. Located primarily in the Jordan Valley, irrigated lands account for a relatively small area (roughly 520 km2), comprising about 16 percent of the total cultivated lands in the country. Rainfed lands are primarily located in the hilly areas, and account for the remainder of the cultivated lands.
The main crops in the country are wheat, barley, olive, citrus, and tomato. While cash crop production increased about 67 percent from 1976 to 1985, the production of cereal and field crops declined by five percent (calculated from annual statistical reports). From season to season sizable changes occur in the amount of productive land and the output of different crops. These changes are mainly a result of high fluctuations in rainfall.
Regarding Jordanís ability to meet its own food needs, the country produced only 16.9 percent of its wheat from 1978 to 1987. On the other hand, production of red meat and dairy products increased by about 26 percent for the same period (IFAD, 1987). In 1985 the country produced only 14.5 percent of the meat it consumed; by 1987 this number had increased to 17 percent (Department of Statistics, 1988).
In spite of significant increases in agricultural output, food production never grew enough to meet the food needs of the population. The country must still import a considerable amount of its food. Depending on the crop status, food imports fluctuated around 200 million JD per year, from 209.4 million JD in 1982 to 179.3 million JD in 1987 (Ministry of Agriculture, 1989). The deficit in wheat production also fluctuates from year to year, primarily in response to variations in rainfall. In 1981 the country imported 384,100 tons of wheat and 64,500 tons of flour, while in 1986 the country imported only 270,900 tons of wheat and 9,500 tons of flour; however, imports rose again to 542,400 tons of wheat and 27,500 tons of flour in 1987 (Ministry of Agriculture, 1989). Generally speaking, Jordan is unable to feed itself, and agricultural imports are more than four times the level of agricultural exports.
Land fragmentation is considered an obstacle to the improvement of individual income growth for farmers (Ministry of Planning, 1986). The average size of agricultural holdings decreased from 7.4 hectares in 1975 to 63.4 in 1983. Given the fact that the average rental value of land in the rainfed area is around 4000 JD per hectare, the earning capacity of land for most farmers was estimated to be around 200 JD in 1987, only 36 percent of the per capita GNP (IFAD, 1987).
Natural Environments and Agricultural Practices
In the absence of substantial industrial activity in the country, the main source of environmental hazard is agricultural practice. In the eastern desert regions, such as Duliel and Azraq, extensive over-pumping from deep aquifers has resulted in a ten-fold increase in water salinity in the last two decades, and soils in the lowlands in these places have degraded to the point of unsuitability for cultivation (Department of Environment, 1989). In the central plains of the country, such as in Zizia, direct soil erosion caused by running rain water has resulted in an average of 0.5 mm of soil thickness being lost per 100 mm of rain. The negative effects of overgrazing are also evident in many of the eastern range lands, and reports about their declining grazing capacities are alarming. In the hilly areas, where most of the rain-fed agriculture is practiced, running water on the steep hills and extensive use of machinery contributes substantially to soil erosion. In the Jordan Valley, where irrigated agriculture is practiced, salinization is an emerging and persistent problem (Department of Environment, 1989). Experts agree that many desertification processes occur in Jordan, and they are constantly escalating (FAO, 1986; Department of Environment, 1989; Ministry of Planning, 1986).
Specific estimates of the amounts, kinds, locations, and density of desertification in Jordan are not available. Nevertheless, the two ìmarginal landî zones are generally agreed to be suffering the most. The causes of environmental degradation in the country are strictly human induced. In the first marginal zone, located on the steep escarpments between the Jordan Valley and the mountainous areas, acts of deforestation and negligence of soil-preserving terraces (caused by abandonment of agriculture) have led to enormous erosion of soils. Lands throughout the area have eroded to base rock. Extensive use of machinery has led to the same result, as is the case in the Wadi Ziqlab area. Negligence and abandonment of agriculture are negatively affecting water resources as well. Many abandoned springs have fallen into disrepair, thus depriving communities of local water sources.
The second marginal zone, located between the highlands and the desert, is also subject to desertification by overgrazing, a result of a high livestock density. Overgrazing is exacerbated by expansion of cropping into the better rainfed grazing areas. This expansion of cropping has reduced the pockets of traditional grazing lands, thereby increasing the livestock load on the semi-arid region. Overgrazing is also exacerbated by the wide use of water trucks to bring water to the animals grazing in the fields. On the one hand, this practice has increased the possibility of yearlong use of the native forage. On the other, over-plaguing the thin soil has caused the destabilization of soil structures and the loss of many soil-fixing organic materials. This damage makes these lands more vulnerable to other forces of erosion, such as run-off and wind.
In summary, the main constraints to dry land farming in Jordan may be identified as:
The Azraq basin contains a multiplicity of population clusters, of which the largest and most important are those adjacent to the wetlands; Azraq North and Azraq South. Azraq North, also known as Azraq Druze, after the people who settled there after the First World War, is situated around Qasr Al-Azraq on the edge of a basaltic plain. This community comprises the descendants of those who had to escape from Jabal Druze in Syria during the revolution against the French in the late 1920s.
Seven kilometers to the south of Azraq Druze is Azraq South, also known as Azraq Shishan. The Shishan villagers are Muslims of mixed Chechen-Arabic stock. They came from the Caucuses through Turkey as a persecuted Muslim minority and settled in Azraq.
According to Osborne (1981), in 1980 Azraqís total settled population was about 2,000, including some 200 Druze families in Azraq North and about 70 Shishani families in Azraq South. An estimated 40,000 Bedouin were also dependent on the oasis for water and grazing.
Table 1 shows the total number of Azraq villages up to the beginning of the 1990s. The socioeconomic survey conducted in 1994 by the Azraq Oasis Conservation Project, which covered 95 percent of Azraq houses, revealed that the total population of Azraq was 4,643, with 3,463 in Azraq North and 1,180 in Azraq South, as shown in Table 2. The 1994 census of the Department of Statistics shows higher numbers because it counted all souls existing in the area at the moment of census, including a considerable number of non-technical workers from abroad (mainly from Egypt, Syria and Sudan). It is estimated from the results of both tables that the number of those foreign workers exceeds 1,300 in both villages, and the number of Bedouins who reside in Azraq exceeds 1,400. The gap between genders is small, with males outnumbering females by a very small margin.
Table 3 shows that about 43 percent of the Azraq population is under the age of 15. This finding implies a high rate of support and low worker productivity, since at least 43 percent of the population is not active economically, without counting housewives, pensioners, others without work, and high school and university students. The findings also indicate that 24.3 percent of the population is of compulsory education age (six to 14). Potential fertility is very high, which emphasizes the need for family planning programs to stabilize the natural growth of this young community.
The average number of children per family in Azraq families in 1994 is 5.0, and the average total number of persons living in a house is 5.85. It was found that about 21 percent of Azraq families have other individuals living with them, such as the mother, father, grandchildren, sister, brother, or other close relatives of the head of the household.
The average age of married males is 40.8 years, while that of females is 33.8 years, implying that many married women are still in their reproductive cycle. Improved standards of living, availability of public services, and better education and health awareness among the general public imply a decline in infant and under-five mortality, maternal mortality, and fertility rates, as well as an increase in life expectancy. Reliable data in these areas were not available because of under-reporting, incorrect classification, unavailable cause of death information, and other factors. Such data will be assumed to be comparable in Azraq to other rural areas of Jordan (the infant mortality rate was 45 per thousand in 1990, and is expected to decline to 36 per thousand by the year 2000). An informal survey of Azraq families indicated a big decline in infant and maternal mortality rates (Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and the Environment, 1991).
Some 9.3 percent (18.3 percent excluding students and under school age children) of the Azraq population is illiterate, among which approximately two thirds are female. On the other hand, only 5.5 percent of the Azraq population has gone beyond secondary school, and less than two percent beyond diploma. Considering heads of households, it was found that 11.5 percent are illiterate, 26.1 percent have some level of primary school, and 11.7 percent have continued beyond secondary school. Of Azraq homemakers, 29.1 percent are illiterate.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization recommends defining an illiterate person as one who cannot both read with understanding and write a short, simple statement about his or her everyday life. This survey considered illiterate those who reported that they cannot read or write or did not attend school, whereas some of the elderly who attended one or two school classes considered themselves to be literate. The adult female literacy rate, which compares female to male literacy by dividing the percentage of literate females over the age of 15 years by the percentage of literate males over the age of 15 years, was found to be 0.85 (77.7 divided by 91.8).
The average amount of schooling received by persons over 25 years of age was found to be 6.7 years (7.9 years among males and 5.0 years among females), indicating a very low academic level for the Azraq adult population and particularly low educational opportunities for females. For heads of households over the age of 25 years, average schooling was found to be 7.5 years (7.8 for males and 2.0 for females).
Generally speaking, suitable housing is available for most of the population. Most Azraq residents live in houses; apartments are not very common. Approximately 72 percent of Azraq residents own their homes, four percent do not own their homes but do not have to pay any rent, either because the house is owned by the wifeís family or because the owners want to help out such poor renters, and the rest are renters, mostly people who live in Azraq for employment purposes. Of Azraq heads of households who were born in Azraq villages, 85 percent own their homes, and almost ten percent are renters. The average rent rate was found to be about 39.4 JD per month.
Table 4 shows Azraq house construction dates and total housing area. The average size of an Azraq house was found to be 117 square meters (m2). About 44 percent of Azraq houses have only one bedroom and an average of 4.7 occupants. Houses with no bedroom and 5.2 occupants constitute 5.6 percent of Azraq houses. These figures imply that almost half of all Azraq families suffer from crowded housing conditions and the associated problems of lower educational, health, and nutritional standards. Regarding lavatory services, 66 percent of homes have only one toilet, and 1.1 percent have no toilet at all. More than 62 percent of Azraq houses have a suitable kitchen, and 36.4 percent have direct access to hot water, either through electrical or solar energy (or a combination of the two).
The average yard area of the Azraq houses is 1,498 m2, with a maximum of 75,000 m2 (in Azraq North) and a minimum of 16 m2. Most families use the yards to grow olive or pomegranate trees, parsley, tomatoes, onions, and flowers.
There is no public sewage network in Azraq, instead, houses are connected to cesspools. It was found that around 65 percent of Azraq houses have a protected cesspool, covered with reinforced concrete from all sides. Most of the rest of the houses (28.8 percent) have unprotected cesspools, either because the house is old or because (according to residents) the ground strata of soil is rocky, which prevents leakage of liquid wastes to the underground. Some of the old houses (0.4 percent) have no cesspool at all. The remainder (5.7 percent) did not know the condition of the cesspools connected to their homes.
Labor and income
The labor force, defined as all people who produce economic goods and services (see Table 5) was found to comprise 20.6 percent of the total population, with non-technical professions being dominant. Salt extraction and refining comprise the largest sector of employment; some 16 percent of the labor force works at the salt refining factory or the salt pans during the salt extraction season (May through July). The proportion of females in the labor force was found to be only 5.9 percent, mainly as teachers in Azraq schools, indicating a low level of female participation in the economy.
The most common occupations of heads of Druze households are salt production, government, trade, cooperatives, transportation, construction, and as workers in the International Poultry Company, in descending order. Heads of Shishani households hold occupations in private companies or projects, government, salt production, and agriculture. The total income of Azraq families in each village is between 100 and 150 JD per month. As shown in Figure 1, 21.6 percent of the families have a monthly income rate less than 100 JD, whereas only about 0.8 percent command 350 JD per month or more. Approximately 20 percent of the families in Azraq North and 27 percent of those in Azraq South have a total monthly income of less than 100 JD. Among all Azraq families, 59.2 percent do not own any property, such as agricultural land, non-agricultural land, or real estate (excluding homes), and therefore depend mostly on income from employment to survive.
Irrigated agriculture is one of the major consumers of waters in the Azraq Basin, demanding over 20 million m3 of water per yearónearly equivalent to the entire safe yield of the basin, which is 25 million m3 per year. Agricultural activities constitute one of the major threats to water sources that must always be monitored, as the water status in the wetlands is affected by any change in the hydrological system within the basin. Azraq Project studies reveal that the area of irrigated farms has increased a thousandfold since the early 1970s. Cultivation is extensive in and around the Azraq Oasis. By the end of 1991 there were approximately 1,400 hectares of olive groves and orchards and 153 hectares of vegetable gardens, irrigated from private wells.
People working mainly in agriculture comprise about 6.8 percent of the Azraq labor force. However, about 47 percent of Azraq residents practice some agriculture, mostly in their own backyards. Forty percent of Azraq residents own property other than the house they live in, whether it is an individual possession (28 percent) or a shared one (12.7 percent); of these people, only 23.4 percent own agricultural land. Such lands are distributed in Al-Awahaq, Dugalieh, Ain Al-Biyda, Ratami, and other areas around Azraq and outside the Azraq area.
Of those who own agricultural land in Azraq, 7.7 percent own a second agricultural property elsewhere, and 0.18 percent own a third one. Of the total owned agricultural land, 70.4 percent is occupied mostly by olives, fruit trees, cereals, vegetables, and dates. Of this occupied land, 97.5 percent is managed by the owners themselves.
The Azraq wetlands are surrounded by range lands. This land is the greenest in the region, attracting Bedouins from Jordan and neighboring countries, who use it as a grazing area for their flocks. As a result, the area suffers from continuous overgrazing. The overall livestock population reached an alarming level (149,000 goats and sheep and around 3,600 camels), posing a major threat to the ecosystem of Azraq as a whole and to the wetlands in particular. These figures do not take into account the seasonal influx of animals brought to the area from as far away as Jafar (180 kilometers to the south), in addition to numerous illegal entries by Bedouins and their animals from Syria and Saudi Arabia.
There is one health center in Azraq North, which serves both villages. Two general physicians from the Ministry of Health work at the center for a period of six months each. These same physicians are responsible for running the primitive health clinic in Azraq South (two hours daily) and a similar clinic at Al-Umary on the Saudi border (once every two days). Around 80 percent of Azraq residents use these public services, while the others use available private services or go to Zarqa city. In general, health conditions are good; no abnormal diseases are found, and almost all families immunize their children and understand the importance of taking them to a physician in cases of sickness. No special services are available for disabled people, who represent no more than 0.61 percent of the population.
The two villages are well connected to each other and to Amman and Zarqa. The Azraq Cooperative Society provides transport buses between Azraq and Zarqa that pass through both villages. Those buses are also the main means of transport between Azraq North and Azraq South. Only three percent of survey respondents indicate that the transportation services between Azraq and Zarqa are not good, while 13 percent indicate that service is bad between the two villages. Very recently one of the locals of Azraq South provided a special big bus to transport people between the villages.
For both villages, the most important economic use of the land is the extraction of salt from the mudflats, which supports a substantial salt industry. Salt extraction has taken place in Azraq since the 1920s, normally occurring from May through July, after the winter rain has compacted the soil, preventing it from mixing with the crystals. More than 65 percent of both Druze and Shishani families were wholly or partly engaged in this activity.
In 1973 the Azraq Cooperative Society took over the responsibility of extracting and marketing the salt. About 95 percent of Azraq community members belong to this society, which allowed an annual quota of 70 sacks for each member of the family, with an additional 120 sacks for the head of the family.
Less than two percent of the Azraq labor force works in the field of tourism. Tourism in Azraq has declined since the depletion of the oasis. Azraq society encourages the development of tourism, including the construction of tourist buildings, as long as such development does not adversely impact the cultural values of the area. For example, any tourist venture involving the building of a night club clearly challenges the peopleís cultural and moral values, and as such is unacceptable.
The Azraq Basin is one of 12 ground water basins in Jordan. It is one of the most important desert basins in the country. Topographically, the basin is concave and is described as the Azraq Depression. The elevation ranges from a high of 1,350 meters above sea level to a low of 500 meters above sea level, which constitutes the lowest point at Azraq. The basin has an area of 12,710 km2, of which 94 percent lies in Jordan, 5.4 percent in Syria, and 0.6 percent in Saudi Arabia.
The basin is covered with basalt flows from volcanic activity, which form the main aquifer in the Azraq Basin as well as in adjacent basins. There are three main aquifers in the area: a shallow, an intermediate, and a deep aquifer. The shallow aquifer is the most important for the wetlands.
The wetlands of Azraq are formed by the intersection of topographical features with the underground water table. The water in the shallow aquifer is generally fresh and of excellent quality. The shallow aquifer recharges mainly from the northern basin and southern Syria, where the annual precipitation averages about 350 mm. The recharge volume of the shallow aquifer is about 22 to 24 million m3 per year. This aquifer is exploited far beyond its safe yield. Most of the 50 million m3 of water annually pumped from the basin comes from this particular aquifer. Indeed, over-pumping has caused the desiccation of the oasis.
Another major threat to the basin and the wetlands habitat in general is the existence of an advancing ìsaline front,î in the form of pockets of saline waters that exist adjacent to the fresh water front. All studies of the issue have demonstrated that a continuation of pumping at the present rate will most probably lead to the salinization of the whole basin.
The intermediate aquifer consists of limestone, chert, and shale, and is separated from the shallow aquifer by thick aquiclude strata. The recharge volume for the intermediate aquifer ranges from seven to ten million cubic meters per year. The deep aquifer consists of sandstone, has a thickness of about 300 meters, and has poor quality water because of high salinity (over 20,000 parts per million) .
Seven main wadis enter the Azraq Basin, draining towards the center of the depression to the Azraq Mud Flat. The main wadis are: Wadi Rajil, Wadi Hassan, Wadi Asekhim, Wadi Buttom, Wadi Medeisisat, Wadi Shumari, Wadi Dabi, Wadi Jesha, and Wadi Ghadaf. Surface runoff varies as much as the rainfall, from 30.24 million m3, during a relatively wet year, to only 1.25 million m3 during a dry year. Runoff for an average year is 12.23 million m3. Flood waters remain several days or months before evaporating, depending on volume. Insignificant amounts of this water filter into the ground and contribute to ground water replenishment.
The Azraq Oasis, or Azraq Wetlands Reserve, is a unique ecosystem in a fragile environment, lying at the heart of the Azraq Basin and covering some 12,710 km2. This region is characterized by desert conditions, low rainfall (not exceeding 50 mm per year), and a high evaporation rate (around 3,000 mm annually). Seasonal Khamasine winds blow into the area. The highest recorded temperature is 47 C; the lowest is -5.7 C.
The Azraq area contains a wealth of biodiversity and habitats, and the richest habitat of all exists in its wetlands. Despite its desert location the oasis contains a variety of habitats and micro-habitats that are found only in wetland environments. The diversity of habitats attracted a multiplicity of organisms that are extremely tolerant to the desert conditions, forming one of the most unusual ecosystems in the world.
Three major sub-ecosystems exist in the Wetland Reserve: a lake ecosystem with fresh waters; a marsh ecosystem with moderately saline waters and soils; and a mudflat ecosystem, known as the Qaí, with highly saline waters and soils. Distribution of flora, fauna, and aquatic species varies according to habitat.
The freshwater ecosystem is an outstanding and unique habitat, containing a variety of animal and plant species. The marsh region that surrounds the pools also contains diverse life forms, which came into existence as a result of restoration efforts. The Qaí is barren and unproductive. The fact that three sub-systems meet and interact in such a relatively small area adds to the importance of this site. The lack of ecological barriers among the different sub-habitats makes it feasible for the species to occupy their respective niches without restrictions.
The Azraq Wetland Reserve has a wealth of diverse life forms. The variety of species found during the field investigations comprised all hierarchical classification forms, starting from the unicellular algae (phytoplanktons), such as Bacillariophyta, Cyanophyta, and Chlophyta. Investigations carried out by the Azraq Project suggest that some species of algae found under the main divisions of phytoplankton may be new recorders to this area, including 13 species of zooplankton.
Aquatic plants in the region also exhibit high diversity, with a recent project study revealing the presence of 12 species new to Azraq. Aquatic insects are also found in abundance; investigations logged 20 species, 11 of which were considered new recorders to Azraq, including Corix spp, Pachynomus lethierryi, and Chironomus calipterus. A total of 209 species of birds were recorded during field work, including Ciconia nigra, Circaetus gallicus, Circus aeroginosus, Chettusia leucura, Caprimulgus aegyptius, Rhamphocoris clotbey, Eremalauda dunni, Oenanthe moesta, Acrocephalus arundinaceus, and Acrocephalus melanopogon.
According to the flora survey conducted by the Azraq Project, terrestrial plant communities comprise a total of 133 species of vascular plants, belonging to 100 genera and 33 families. Seven species were recorded as new to the flora of Jordan and unique to the Azraq Wetland Reserve.
History and Archeology
The history of Azraq Oasis goes back 30 to 40 million years. Evidence of human occupation in Azraq dates back to the Paleolithic period. Historically, this major oasis was the most strategic point near the outlet of Wadi Sirhan, and has been called the most important water source in the southern Syrian Desert. The area has always been well known throughout recorded history as a hunting and resting place for caravans crossing the Syrian Desert in all directions. Desert castles built in the eighth century still stand as evidence of the contribution of the Ummayad Arabs to the regionís history.
The Azraq Castle is a testament to the evolution of culture and human activity. First built by the Romans and remodeled by the Islamic Arabs, the Azraq Castle was also subsequently remodeled by the Turks, used by Lawrence of Arabia during the Great Arab Revolt at the turn of the century, and used once again by the revolting Druze in the 1920s during the Syrian revolution against the French.
Discoveries of archaeological remains in the Azraq area are of great importance. These discoveries indicate that the area was inhabited for centuries by a succession of civilizations, since at least the time of the Roman Empire. In the summer of 1996 a research team from the Madaba Plains Project discovered a Paleolithic site containing evidence of early human presence in the Azraq Oasis. A cursory examination of the artifacts suggests the site may be up to 200,000 years old. The site in question is located within the Azraq Conservation Project Reserve at Ain Soda, and was exposed as a result of the falling water table in a pool that had been enlarged and deepened in order to provide a habitat for plants and animals in the endangered oasis.
In addition to the artifactual materials, the remains of extinct animals, including mammoth and camelid, are also present. A variety of stone tools, including hand axes, knives, scrapers, blades, and cleavers, has been recovered from the exposed deposits. Evidence of tool manufacture and the butchering of animals has been found at the site. There may have been as many as five occupations at the site, ranging in age from the Lower and Middle Paleolithic to Epipaleolithic and Neolithic. Roman walls surround the ancient spring, further indicating the importance of this spring even into classical antiquity.
International Commitment: The Ramsar Convention
The importance of Azraq as a wetland stems from the fact that it lies on the major bird migration route between Europe and Africa. Azraq Oasis has been deemed as one of the worldís most important sanctuaries for migratory birds. ìWhen the pools are full and the Qaí is a quagmire after winter rain, thousands of waterfowl wing inî (Osborne, 1981). The international importance of this wetland was recognized in 1977 when the oasis was designated for inclusion on the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (commonly known as The Ramsar Convention) list. The Ramsar site covers some 7,372 hectares, and includes the marshes and pools as well as the whole of Azraq Qaí. The spring-fed marshes in South Azraq and the adjacent parts of the Qaí were given reserve status in 1977, and have been managed since that time by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature under an agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture.
Major changes have occurred regarding the ecological status of the wetlands as a result of the massive extraction of ground water from the Azraq aquifers. The main purpose of this extraction was to supply Amman with drinking water. Irrigation was another significant source of demand.
The over-pumping that escalated during the 1980s and 1990s caused a continuous drop in the underground water table (2.5 to six meters). The natural discharge rate of the four main springs fell rapidly, from 10.5 million m3 per year in 1981 to less than one million cubic meters in 1991. The two northern springs dried up completely in 1987, and the southern springs finally ceased to flow in August 1992. By December 1992 the Azraq wetlands were completely dry. The rehabilitation efforts of the Azraq Project, especially the cleaning and dredging work, increased the flow of the springs again. However, the increase is very slight, amounting to less than 200,000 m3 per year.
The result of this degradation was a total collapse of the whole ecosystem. All marsh vegetation was dead. Slow-burning fires were moving through the ground in areas that were formerly deep swamps. In 1993 and 1994 the spring pools were almost dried up, and the biodiversity of the area was devastated.
An important factor that contributed to the degradation of the wetland ecosystem was the increase in the salinity of the underground waters, which varied between 1,200 and 3,000 parts per million. The existence of a deep saline underground aquifer in the area caused irreversible changes in the ecological features of the area as a whole.
The extraction of ground water in and around the oasis for agricultural practices has increased rapidly in recent years, and has been largely uncoordinated and uncontrolled. The widespread use of the brackish water for irrigation may well cause even more severe salinity.
The near-total collapse of the wetlands ecosystem had immediate and direct effects on the livelihoods of the people of Azraq. The damages ranged from the collapse of the tourism industry to declining agricultural productivity and increased rural to urban migration. The agricultural losses were enormous. The increased salinity of soils and waters caused major financial losses for outside investors as well as for local farmers. Accurate figures for these losses are not available, but researchers in the Azraq Oasis Conservation Project estimate them to be in the hundreds of thousands of dinars.
As for the tourism sector, the disaster was almost complete. With the exception of a few international tourists who came to visit the castle in Azraq, tourism essentially stopped. The over six percent of the population employed in tourism-related activities was out of business. The transportation sector also suffered from the dramatic decline in tourism and agriculture, in addition to the diminishing traffic to Iraq going through Azraq.
As argued above, the Azraq Oasis was the primary victim of mismanagement of the environmental resources of water in the Azraq Basin. As a result of the damage to this historical and ecological treasure, the national and international communities mobilized to save Azraq. Thus the Azraq Oasis Conservation Project was born, beginning its activities in early 1994.
Major efforts were concentrated on securing adequate amounts of water to launch the rehabilitation process. As the hydrogeological system of waters of the oasis are but a part of the larger hydrological system of the basin, achieving a proper understanding of the water dynamics in the whole Azraq Basin was an unavoidable prerequisite. The lakes in the oasis represent the intersection of the underground water table with the areaís topography. Extensive research also demonstrated that the lakes represent the center of the water basin. Underground water veins as well as the surface runoff that flows in wadis all end in the wetlandsóthe lowest point within the Azraq Basin.
Additional research demonstrated that the waters of the Azraq Basin are not only the major environmental media for the wetland reserve, but are also one of the major sources of supply for the biggest city in Jordan, Amman. Amman receives over 25 percent of its potable water from Azraq. Research also proved that the waters of the Azraq Basin are salinizing at an alarming rate. Hydrological studies demonstrated that a saline front, located to the northeast of the oasis, is rapidly advancing toward the fresh waters of Azraq. The hydrostatic barrier separating the two qualitatively distinct waters of Azraq is moving rapidly in favor of the saline water. The main cause of this phenomenon is the over-pumping of fresh water. There is a real possibility that the waters of Azraq could go completely saline.
The environmental, agricultural, and socioeconomic implications of such a scenario would be disastrous. There is therefore an urgent necessity to preserve the waters of Azraq in both quantitative and qualitative terms, not only to protect the natural ecological wealth of the wetlands, but also to meet the escalating needs of the people of Azraq and Jordan at large. Many potential solutions were discussed and evaluated from ecological as well as socioeconomic points of view. The ideal solution would have been the immediate stopping of all pumping from the basin above the natural recharge rate of 25 million cubic meters per year. Unfortunately, this solution was not practical. Cutting Amman off from one quarter of its waters was impossible in socioeconomic and political terms. Similarly, closing wells that are used to irrigate farms in the area was another taboo in socioeconomic, agricultural, and local power structure terms.
The solution came through environmental planning and proper administration of the available environmental opportunities of water. The implementation had geographic and administrative dimensions. The basic idea was to use available water with careful attention to timing and location in order to achieve the environmental rehabilitation of the oasis and preservation of the water basin.
After extensive and thorough investigation of the hydrogeological system, a series of scenarios were prepared. All scenarios were based on the idea of reverse pumping of waters to the epicenter of the water basin, represented by the lakes themselves. These plans were submitted to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, which is responsible for all the waters of the whole country. After intensive negotiations and scientific debates, the Ministry agreed to reverse pump 1.5 to two million cubic meters of water per year to the lakes through the existing pipe network.
The source of the waters pumped to the oasis has been a well field belonging to the Water Authority, located in a relative water surplus area about 12 kilometers to the north of the wetlands. Experimental pumping started in June 1994 and reached full capacity in September of the same year. In addition, extensive rehabilitation and clean-up operations for the major springs in the lakes were conducted. Many of the wadis leading to the reserve were cleaned and deepened to enable channeling of as much of the surface runoff as possible during the rainy season.
Towards the end of October, the water table in the lakes started rising, and parts of the oasis started to come back to life. Beginning in November the rainy season of 1994-95 was above normal, and over ten million cubic meters of water reached the wetlandsó almost twice the annual average of surface runoff. In that season, the area covered by water in the wetlands was about 16 km2, compared to almost nothing prior to the project.
The next season (1995-1996) was a declared national drought. The area received less than 30 mm of rain in total for the season. Nevertheless, because of the rehabilitation efforts, a large portion of the wetlands remains in an environmentally and ecologically healthy state, with the water covering over 3.5 km2 in the marshes and lakes.
The conservation project achieved the following basic goals:
1. An adequate amount of water was secured to revive and rehabilitate the Azraq wetland ecosystem and its biodiversity.
2. The water quality of the Azraq Basin was enhanced, as the advance of the saline front was slowed. Today the danger of the complete salinization of the Azraq Basin is much lower.
3. An incremental minimization of pumping was attained. The ideal solution of bringing pumping down to the systemís natural safe yields was not attained, yet it is a change in the right direction. The precedent of reverse pumping to save the Azraq water supply and ecosystem has been established.
4. Positive socioeconomic trends among the local community have been attributed to the rehabilitation of the oasis. Increasing numbers of tourists are visiting the area, and numerous companies have expressed interest in investing in tourism and eco-tourism.
5. The local people, after a lengthy period of frustration, were empowered and started to participate in the overall socioeconomic development of the area. With the support of the Azraq Oasis Conservation Project, a grassroots movement known as the Friends of Azraq Society was established, primarily aimed at environmental preservation and achievement of local socioeconomic stability.
In 1996 the Following Article Was Published in Making a Difference (United Nations Development Program, Regional Bureau for Arab States)
Before Our Disbelieving Eyes, Birds Returned! by Osman Dawlat
"When I grew up, since Azraq lacked schools, I decided to leave in search of knowledge, education, and what I thought would be a better life. On the day of my departure my father said to me firmly, 'This village is going to be great. Do not leave it!' But the hot blood of youth prevailed; I left.
"However my fatherís words were inscribed in my head and I promised myself that I would come back after finishing my education. For years I attended schools and worked in other parts of the country. But a few years ago, after my fatherís death, I decided to obey his command. I came back to Azraq to work as a school teacher.
"Unfortunately, I returned to an Azraq very different from the one of my youth. Most of the lakes had dried up due to over-pumping of water. The formerly beautiful farms around the Oasis were no better off. And I saw no birds; Azraq had nothing left to offer them. In spite of the desperate cries of many people, nobody did anything to bring Azraq back to life. The Oasis was dying, and, with it, local morale and businesses.
"Catastrophe came in the early 1990s: the Oasis dried up almost completely and you could not see a single bird. Azraq was a disaster area. In the midst of this calamity we started hearing rumors that a ëprojectí supported by an international organization would rehabilitate the Oasis. We did not believe it. 'Who will stop pumping from Azraq; who will revive the Oasis?' we asked. Yet we had hope.
"Early in 1994, we began seeing new faces in town: young men and women visiting the remains of the Oasis frequently. Day by day their numbers increased, and they started bringing in machinery. ëWell, itís realí we said. ëSomebody is trying to do something to revive the Oasis.í Soon afterward, at a public meeting to which all villagers were invited, we were told about the Azraq Oasis Conservation Project, aided by UNDP and the Government of Jordan. The project people even asked for our help. Although we doubted that anything could be done to reverse the decline, everybody offered to assist, including me.
"Then, day by day, the unbelievable happened. We saw water being pumped back to the Oasis. Little by little, greenery started to spread. Before our disbelieving eyes, birds returned! It even appeared that God had smiled down upon his subjectsí efforts to revive the Oasis and ordered above normal rainfall. The Oasis kept on expanding. By the end of the year it had reached its size in the old days. Azraq had come back to life after all.
"As the lakes returned, businesses began to flourish, tourists arrived, and the people of Azraq started to believe in and plan for a better future. Thanks to the Azraq Oasis Conservation Project and to the support obtained from UNDP, the prophecy of my late father has been realized: Azraq is going to be a great village."
Population pressures and water shortages are a continuous threat. Although the Azraq Project has managed to solve parts of the problem by rehabilitating the Azraq Oasis and establishing a trend of socioeconomic flourishing in the area, the roots of the problems that caused the abuse of nature in Azraq still exist. Increasing population in the Azraq area and in Jordan at large is still a threat to the waters of Azraq. Thus it is not only important to manage the available water resources wisely, it is also important to address the issues of population increase and changes in life styles in the whole country.
The experience of the Azraq Oasis Conservation Project illustrates the following:
1. Population pressures and escalating demands for water can lead to severe abuse of the available finite environmental resources, even to the point of irreversibility.
2. In-depth knowledge of ecosystems is a key prerequisite for their sustainable management. In other words, proper knowledge leads to proper action.
3. Involvement of local people in environmental management is one of the prerequisites for success, not only to implement projects, but also to preserve achievements and make them enduring.
4. Engineering solutions, such as those implemented in Azraq, can yield enormous socioeconomic results, especially in terms of raising public awareness and empowerment of local populations.
5. National and international support in administrative and financial terms is valuable in achieving remarkable results. In frustrated environments and communities, outside intervention may be needed to create change. Nevertheless, while initiation of projects using international money can trigger some changes, it is vitally important to keep the momentum through the support of national organizations and local people.
6. Issues of environmental rehabilitation are inseparable from water/population dynamics and other socioeconomic issues, particularly in arid regions, and should be handled in a comprehensive manner.
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Department of Statistics, 1988. Statistical Yearbook, Number 39. Amman, Jordan: Department of Statistics.
Department of the Environment, 1989. State of Environment. eds. S. Tell and Y. Sara. Amman, Jordan: Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and the Environment.
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Ministry of Agriculture, 1989. Agricultural Statistics Indicators, 1981-1988. Amman, Jordan: Ministry of Agriculture.
Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and the Environment, Department of Environment, 1991. National Environment Strategy For Jordan. Switzerland: IUCN.
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JICA, 1987. The Study On Integrated Regional Development Master Plan For The Kerak-Tafila Development Region, Draft Final Report. Volume 1: Main Report. Tokyo: Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Jordan, 1991. Jordanís Water Resources and Expected Domestic Demand by the Years 2000 and 2010, Detailed According to Area. Amman, Jordan: Water Authority of Jordan.
National Population Commission, 1991. Quarterly Population Bulletin. Amman, Jordan: National Population Commission.
Nelson, J.B., 1973. Azraq: Desert Oasis. London: Fakenham and Reading.
Osborne, C., 1981. An Insight and Guide to Jordan. UK: Longman Group Limited.
UNDP, Jordan, 1994. Conservation of the Dana and Azraq Protected Areas: Project Document. Washington DC: Global Environment Facility.
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