Jordan River

From AquaPedia Case Study Database
Jump to: navigation, search

Jordan River Facts

Basin Area: 42800 42,800 km²
16,520.8 mi²
Average Basin Discharge: 412412 m³/s
14,549.643 cfs
13.001 km³/y
Type:watershed or basin, river or creek

Includes Riparians: Egypt; Jordan; Israel; Syria; Palestinian Territories; Lebanon;
Facts about included riparians are at the end of the article. Fact References[1]

The Jordan River flows between five particularly contentious riparians, two of which rely on the river as the primary water supply. [2] Over the last century, heavy rates of water abstraction have reduced the flow of the lower Jordan River to less than 2% of its traditional flow. Today, its flow at its lower reaches is sustained by sewage and polluted agricultural runoff. The Jordan River has the distinction of being the lowest surface river (altitude) in the world. [3]

Steam Flow and Ecosystem:

The Jordan River originates from three spring-fed streams:[4]

1. The Hasbani/Nahal Senir [Arabic/Hebrew] which begins in Syria and winds through Lebanon as it flows into Israel
2. The Banyas/Nahal Hermon, which begins in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights (previously Syrian, captured by Israel in the 1967 War)
3. The Dan/Nahal Liddani, which originates in Israel

These three streams converge in Israel and form the Upper Jordan River, which flows into Lake Tiberias/The Kinneret [hereafter: “Lake Tiberias”]. The Upper Jordan River contributes about 660 MCM/yr to Lake Tiberias, and local runoff contributes another 130 MCM/yr.[5] Lake Tiberias stores approximately 4,000 MCM, which is estimated to be approximately 8 times its annual outflow.[6] Approximately 500 MCM/yr flows out of Lake Tiberias into the Lower Jordan, which converges with the Yarmouk River after 10 km.[7]

The Yarmouk River originates in catchments in Syria and flows along the boundary between Syria and Jordan before becoming the border between Israel and Jordan. When the Yarmouk River converges with the Lower Jordan, it contributes and estimated 40% of the total combined flow.[8]

The Lower Jordan River flows along the northwestern border of Jordan, forming the border first with Israel and then with the Palestinian West Bank. Finally, the river empties into the Dead Sea, a highly saline body of water with no natural outlet.

The Jordan River Valley in its entirety is considered an extremely important flyway for migratory birds. According to Friends of the Earth Middle East:

"An estimated five hundred million birds migrate annually through this narrow corridor between the southern and northern hemispheres. It is also an important migratory route of global avifauna, such as the black and white stork, common pelican, kingfisher, herons, shovelers, sandpipers, shanks, francolins and other globally threatened waterfowls."[9]

Riparian Entities

  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • The Palestinian Authority, created by the 1993 Oslo Accords, currently controls a portion of the West Bank that does not include land adjacent to the Jordan River. Thus, Palestinian citizens of the PA may not access the river. It is expected that in future negotiations over a final status, the Palestinian Authority will seek to gain control over land adjacent to the river to become a riparian.[10]
  • Syria
  • Lebanon

Human Uses:

Use of the Jordan River is governed by the 1994 Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty and the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

According to one estimate, 98% of the stream flow of the Jordan River is diverted by Jordanian and Israeli users. The last fifty years have seen a reduction in the river's flow from 130 billion m3/year to only 30 million m3/year. [11]

Much of Jordan’s agricultural and municipal water supply comes from the King Abdullah Canal (KAC), built in 1961 and previously known as the East Ghor Canal. The KAC collects water from an intake on the Yarmouk River and from the Israeli-Jordan transfer conduit and then runs through the Jordan Valley, carrying water for irrigation and providing much of the municipal supply of the capital, Amman.[12]

Israel’s National Water Carrier (NWC) is a system of canals and pipes completed in 1964 that runs from Lake Tiberias to the Negev Desert in the south. Along the way, the NWC collects water from springs and aquifers and feeds agricultural and urban supply systems.[13]

Residents of the Palestinian West Bank are currently not allowed to access the Jordan River.

Religious Significance

The Jordan River is known in Christian tradition as the scene of the baptism of Jesus Christ. For centuries, the Jordan River has been an important pilgrimage site for Christians from a variety of sects. While traditional practices differ, baptisms by immersion in the river were common until recently. Since 2010, the NGO EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East has called for an end to these immersion baptisms, citing health concerns due to the poor quality of the water.[14]

Pollution and Wastewater Mismanagement

The Jordan River is heavily polluted due to untreated wastewater runoff and pollutants from agricultural runoff. Untreated wastewater flows into the river from Israeli and Palestinian as well as from Jordanian sources.[15]

Case Studies linked to Jordan River[edit]

Articles linked to Jordan River[edit]

Riparians Water Features

Located in this basin- Egypt
Located in this basin- Lebanon
Located in this basin- Syria
Located in this basin- Jordan
Located in this basin- Palestinian Territories
Located in this basin- Israel

Feature in this basin- Yarmuk River

Projects and Initiatives Agreements and Treaties

External Links

Facts about Included Riparians

RiparianPopulation in BasinArea within Basin in sq. kmIrrigated Lands within Basin in sq kmAverage Discharge in cubic m per second
Egypt4.0e-5 million40 people174 km²67.182 mi²0 km²0 mi²
Lebanon0.0823 million82,300 people716 km²276.449 mi²20 km²7.722 mi²0 m³/s0 cfs
0 km³/y
Syria0.918 million917,700 people4,535 km²1,750.973 mi²600 km²231.661 mi²0 m³/s0 cfs
0 km³/y
Jordan6.445 million6,445,000 people19,395 km²7,488.451 mi²1,200 km²463.323 mi²316.9 m³/s11,191.218 cfs
10 km³/y
Palestinian Territories3,200 km²1,235.527 mi²
Israel0.342 million341,900 people9,100 km²3,513.53 mi²1,000 km²386.102 mi²95 m³/s3,354.893 cfs
2.998 km³/y
  1. ^ Oregon State University. Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database. Tables: and
  2. ^ Product of the Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database, Department of Geosciences, Oregon State University. Additional information about the TFDD can be found at:
  3. ^ Friends of the Earth Middle East, "Good Water Neighbors Project: Introduction". Available at:
  4. ^ Karen Hudes, Shared Water Resources in the Jordan River Basin, 1 Gonz. J. Int'l L. (1997-98), available at
  5. ^ Ibid, 2.
  6. ^ Ibid, 2.
  7. ^ Jägerskog, Anders. 2003. Why states cooperate over shared water: The water negotiations in the Jordan River basin. Linköping University. Ph.D. dissertation. Available at:
  8. ^ Hudes, 2.
  9. ^ Friends of the Earth Middle East, "The Jordan River Valley: A Vital Migratory Flyway". Accessible at:
  10. ^ Richard Laster and Dan Livney, "Managing the Jordan River Basin", in Water Wisdom: Preparing the Groundwork for Cooperative and Sustainable Water Management in the Middle East, Rutgers University Press, 2010.
  11. ^ Friends of the Earth Middle East, "Good Water Neighbors Project: Introduction". Available at:
  12. ^ William Alkhoury, Markus Ziegmann, Fritz H. Frimmel, Gudrun Abbt-Braun & Elias Salameh (2010): Water quality of the King Abdullah Canal/Jordan–impact on eutrophication and water disinfection, Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry, 92:5, 855-877.
  13. ^ Nathan Cohen, "Israel's National Water Carrier", Present Environment and Sustainable Development, NR. 2, 2008. Available at:
  14. ^ Judith Sudilovsky, "Jordan River Called 'Too Polluted' for Baptism Pilgrims, Religion News Service, posted by Huffington Post, 28 July, 2010. Accessible at:
  15. ^ Nader El-Khateeb, "The Condition of Streams and Prospects for Restoration in Palestine", in Alon Tal and Abed Rabbo, eds., "Water Wisdom: Preparing the Groundwork for Cooperative and Sustainable Water Management in the Middle East", Rutgers University Press, 2010.
Water Feature
Facts about "Jordan River"RDF feed
Average Basin Discharge412 m³/s (14,549.643 cfs, 13.001 km³/y) +
Basin Area42,800 km² (16,520.8 mi²) +
Located in RegionNorthern Africa + and Western Asia +
RiparianEgypt +, Jordan +, Israel +, Syria +, Palestinian Territories + and Lebanon +
Water Feature TypeWatershed or basin + and River or creek +
Page has default formThis property is a special property in this wiki.Water Feature +
Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Jordan River +, Jordan River +, Jordan River +, Jordan River +, Jordan River + and Jordan River +