Jordan is a Middle Eastern country that is steeped in the rich cultural heritages and historical wonders of the modern world. It attracts visitors from all over the world through its ancient cityscapes and deserts. Rivers in Jordan have significant importance in the nation’s geography. It also serves as the heart for managing the water scarcity that it faces.
So, in this article, we’ll look into the water bodies in Jordan that are capable of shaping the future of the nation and other Middle Eastern countries.
1. Exploring The Rivers In Jordan
Even though Jordan is not abundant in many rivers in the middle east, the existing rivers serve as the veins of the nation. They conserve and quench the thirst of the nation. These seasonal streams play an important role in maintaining the prosperity of Jordan. Here are the main rivers of Jordan that have a great influence on Jordan’s fate.
1.1 Jordan River
Jordan River is the indigenous river in Jordan that holds great and deeper religious and historical importance in the nation. It flows from northern Jordan and ends up in the Dead Sea at around 422 metres below sea level. This River also has immense geological significance and is considered to be a national water carrier.
1.1.1 Historical Significance of Jordan River
When treated with its historical significance, the Jordan River is immensely intertwined with the traditions of the nation. Many religions have different mentions in their respective religious texts. Christian believers believe that Jordan was the place where Jesus Christ was baptized by John, the Baptist in biblical history. This was a pivotal event for the Christian religion. Jews believe that Israelites crossed into the promised land after their exodus from Egypt. These historical significances made the Jordan River a pilgrimage site for people all over the world.
The Jordan River originated at Mount Hermon as a result of a combination of three different river-Hasbani River, the Banias River and the Dan River. These rivers flow through three different countries, Southern Lebanon, Syria and Israel respectively at the Hula Valley.
1.1.2 Geography of Jordan River
Jordan River runs as a boundary for countries such as Israel, Palestinian nations etc. The Jordan River receives the upper hand by becoming a border between Israel and Jordan from the southern part. It also shares a border with the Palestinian territories in the north.
Jordan River is considered to be the primary tributary to the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea geologically. It has an upper course with the Sea of Galilee via Bethsaida Valley and a lower course with the southern side of the Dead Sea. But these diversions cause a shrinking of the Dead Sea at a considerable rate. It can also cause consequences to the surrounding nations.
Efforts are being made to address the challenges facing the Jordan River and its surrounding ecosystem. Various international organizations and initiatives are working to promote water conservation, sustainable use of water resources, and environmental protection in the region.
1.2 Yarmouk River
Yarmouk River is one of the major tributaries of the Lower Jordan River which also serves Israel and Syria, the neighbouring nations. It is a major river that originates from the Golan Heights which was occupied by Northern Israel in the war of 1967 with Syria.
It is a tributary of the Jordan River that helps the maintenance of the ecosystems of the nation and the agriculture at the banks.
1.2.1 Geographical Significance of Yarmouk River
This river is a great source for competing with the demands of three nations- Jordan, Israel and Syria. It stands as a solution for the competing demands of consumption, agriculture requirements and even conflicts with the nations.
Geographically it forms a boundary with the Hauran plains. Alongside, it also shared a border with Bashan plains from the fall north and in the southern tip with the Gilead mountains. This created a lot of political issues with neighbouring nations.
It is narrow and flat along its length, but its mouth is about as wide as the Jordan River. That is it is 30 feet wide and 5 feet deep. The once-famous Matthew Bridge crossed the river at its confluence with the Jordan River.
The Yarmouk River, like the Jordan River, plays a crucial role in the water resources and ecological balance of the region. Managing its waters sustainably is essential for addressing water scarcity and preserving the fragile environment of the surrounding landscape.
1.3 Zarqa River
Zarqa River which is also known as the Jabbok River or even the River of Blue City, originates from the eastern side of the Jordan River. It is the main tributary of the Jordan River. To be specific, it begins its journey from the city of Amman from the Gazelle spring and flows westward through the city of Zarqa and at last joins with the Dead Sea. It holds great significance with the water resources of Jordan.
This is a perennial river that maintains a consistent flow all the time and serves as a relative water supply source for the nation’s requirements. It is a great help for the sustainment of the agricultural runoff and lives along its banks being Jordan’s floodplain.
1.3.1 Significance In The Development of The Nation
This River has great significance in the urban life and industrial development of the nation. However, this caused many pollution and environmental challenges and affected the health of the river system.
Due to the perennial nature of the river, it is a sustainable water resource of the nation as it supports the ecosystem and the needs of people at the bank of the nation. This consistent water management of the river safeguards the desert nation of Jordan.
As Jordan faces ongoing water scarcity challenges, the Zarqa Rivers remain a valuable lifeline for the nation’s water supply. Managing this precious river sustainably is crucial for preserving the environment, supporting communities, and ensuring a healthier future for Jordan’s water resources.
1.4 Wadi Arabah
Wadi Araba, sometimes known as the Arabah River, is a seasonal river that flows along the eastern border of Jordan. It is adjacent to Palestine and Israel and near the Negev desert valley.
The seasonal nature of the Wadi Araba is due to its natural landscape and rocky terrain. The flow of the river is determined by the amount of rain falling and flash floods in the Arabah Valley. It is dry mostly in a year and gets filled easily. It has shaped many canyons and river valleys with this nature of formation.
1.4.1 Geographic Characteristics of Arabah
Wadi Araba forms a natural geographic boundary between Jordan and Israel/Palestine. It stretches from the Gulf of Aqaba in the south, along the eastern side of the Jordan River, to the Dead Sea in the north.
Wadi Araba has historical significance as a trading route and pathway for nomadic tribes. In ancient times, caravans used this route for trade between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean region.
Wadi Araba’s dry riverbed serves as a testament to the arid climate that characterizes much of Jordan’s geography. While it may not be a permanent river, its unique geological features and historical importance contribute to the rich elegance of Jordan’s diverse landscapes and cultural heritage.
1.5 Wadi Mujib
Mujib River, which is known as the Arnon Stream in Hebrew, is seasonal in Jordan. Situated at the Mujib biosphere reserve, it is a great tourist attraction for hiking and canyoning.
Being a seasonal river, it flows only during the rainy seasons. It gets its flow through the huge run-offs and flash floods in the desert during this season. It has a large ecosystem on its banks that depends on the Mujib River for its existence.
Mujib River has a larger biosphere reserve on its bank and is probably known as the Grand Canyon of Jordan which has beautiful stone canyons across the deserts of Jordan. Later the river ends up in the Dead Sea through the Jordan River where it gets a considerable amount of salt residue.
1.5.1. Elegance of Mujib River
The reserve offers a beautiful picturesque with its rich landscapes, cliffs, waterfalls, and narrow streams which were carved out of the Mujib river. This makes it a popular destination for hiking and trekking along with other ecotourism activities. People from all over the world visit the river, river valley and its pathways during the rainy season.
Due to its ecological significance, Wadi Mujib has been designated as a protected area. Conservation efforts are in place to preserve its natural beauty, biodiversity, and unique geological formations.
1.6 Wadi Al-Yabis
Wadi al-Yabis is a tributary of the Jordan River that is located in western Jordan. It is a stream that is very dry during the summer but has a lot of olive trees that are grown along its banks. It joins the Jordan River at the Beit She’an Valley and is described as one of the wildest ravines in the Fertile Crescent in the southern desert of Jordan.
Al-yabis is a river that hosts a diverse variety of eco-lives such as wildlife, egrets, hyraxes etc. It provides a very secure asylum that is to be persecuted.
1.6.1 Peace Treaty and Al-Yabis River
According to the Peace treaty signed between Israel and Jordan in the year 1994, The al-Yabis River is set as a tributary of the Jordan River that is allowed to be used by Israel. This shows the importance of the Yabis River in feeding two countries.
Although the Al-Yabis River may not be much known in Jordan’s history and its geographical features, it is an important river in quenching the thirst of Jordan and Israel and various lives on its banks.
1.7 Wadi Al-Hasa
Wadi al Hasa is another seasonal river that is considerably long and big and is located in West Jordan. It starts from Karak City and flows through Tafilah City and ultimately combines with the Dead Sea.
Although being a seasonal river, it acts as a perennial river having the water flow most of the time in the river. It serves as the primary source of watering for many farms, irrigated fields and industries along its banks. It also contains many springs and falls along its path making it a beautiful river. But the Hasa River is a little smaller than the Wadi al Mujib River that flows through its northern region.
It has an elegant landscape with picturesque beauty and lush vegetation alongside the banks of the river. Also, it is a great tourist destination suitable for hiking and trekking through the valleys and canyons nearby.
Al- hasa has been a popular spot for archaeological explorations as it is said to have many resources from the Upper Pleistocene period. They have identified many stone formations, lakes, and sediments proving that Jordan built during this period. The evidence of marls and tufa formations which was a part of the drainage system of that period.
Jordan is a nation that is blessed with its natural beauty and the diversity of landscapes, rivers and deserts. With its historical and religious significance, it is also a symbol of heritage. Although they face a lot of challenges based on water scarcity and pollution, it is cured using their wadis and rivers that stand to support the ecosystems.
The rivers in Jordan are very helpful in the management of resources in the nation and even the neighbouring nations to protect nature and communities for the upcoming generations.
I am Navami Prasad S, currently a MCA student at SCMS School of Technology and Management in Ernakulam, Kerala and a passionate content writer. Being born and raised up in a small town in Kerala, India, I have a love for words and a keen eye for crafting compelling and engaging content. Being a student in Integrated program of Computer Applications and few experiences in the content writing field, I have honed my skills to create content that captivates readers and drives results.