The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has a total area land of 88,240 square km of which only 1.7% is arable. In 2009, Jordan’s total population was 5,951,000 of which 78% lived in urban areas. Jordan’s economy is among the smallest in the Middle East and is largely dependent on trade and service-related activities. However, manufacturing, agriculture, mining and construction activities in recent years have contributed significantly to the country’s economy. In 2009, GPD per capita was estimated at US$ 4,216, the poverty rate was at 2.6% and the unemployment rate at was 12.9%. Since the year 2000, the country’s GPD per capita has more than doubled with annual real GDP growth averaging around 7% due to growth in the manufacturing, construction, real estate and service sectors. Growth of these sectors coupled with population growth has resulted in increased demand for energy and water. Water resources are scarce, rainfall is irregular and groundwater is rapidly depleting due to overexploitation. The Jordanian government is scaling up efforts to boost and diversify its energy sector. Due to Jordan’s importation of 98% of its energy, its economy was negatively affected by the 2007 global financial crisis that caused fluctuations in prices and resulted in high unemployment rates. Jordan is divided into four physiographic regions: (1) the Jordan Rift Valley; (2) the highlands to the east of the Jordan Rift Valley; (3) the plains; and (4) the Al-Badiah desert region. Its topography is dominated by the arid deserts, the rift valley, and highlands and plains characterized by hot and dry weather conditions. More than 80% of the country is unpopulated due to desert conditions, where annual precipitation falls under 50 millimeters. Water availability is mainly dependant on rainfall. Surface water in the Jordan River and its tributaries Yarmouk and Zarqa are saline and primarily used for irrigation, while underground aquifers are used as sources of drinking water. The King Abdullah Canal is also used for irrigation. Aridity and water scarcity render Jordan environmentally sensitive to climate change. Jordan must effectively manage its water resources and cultivable land in order to meet the growing needs of its population.
Selected Indicators for Impacts and Vulnerabilities