Rain, Rain … Come Again Another Day!

Amman, Jordan

We are in our third straight day of rain, alternating between drizzle and downpour, and I’m loving it!

I know you can’t prove global climate change by anecdotal evidence of local trends, but as surely as the Sudan is feeling it, so is Jordan.

The very first time I arrived in Jordan was February 2004, and I don’t remember much of that winter, except that “the desert” that I thought Jordan to be is surprisingly cold in February!

I do remember my first full winter in Jordan well, and I remember that it rained almost every day from November 2004 till April 2006. It would drizzle most of the time, but there’d be a good half hour of downpour at least once a day, and some days there’d be hours of steady rain. Neighbors assured me this was perfectly normal, the way that winters had always been.

In the subsequent four winters, I don’t think there’s been more than 15 days of rain a year.

Jordan is a country that struggles for water in a good year. There’s not much left of the Jordan River once Syria and Israel are done with it, and the Azraq Aquifer is so severely depleted that there’s serious danger of sinkholes east of Amman. Jordan just finalized a deal with Saudi for exclusive access to the aquifer the two countries share east of Wadi Rum, called the Disi Aquifer, but I heard that the water may be radioactive.

For decades, Jordan has relied on rainwater for half its water supply. Over 40 valleys across the country have been dammed to create reservoirs that catch rainwater all winter and store it through the summer. Jerash and Mujib are two of the largest. When it doesn’t rain, though, there’s nothing to fill those reservoirs.

I haven’t spoken to a single Jordanian in these 3 days who wasn’t glad of the rain.

May all the regional gods of rain keep it coming!

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