USAID investments connect communities to clean drinking water sources. An estimated 93 percent of all water withdrawals in the country surface water and groundwater are for agricultural use, much higher than the global average of 70 percent. Estimates of renewable annual groundwater per year range from
Water use will continue to increase with population and economic growth and will be further influenced by the modernization of agricultural practices, as well as governmental, socioeconomic, and developmental policies. Most of the region's water supply is pumped from groundwater; agriculture is the largest water user.
Total withdrawals in were more than is naturally replenished in an average year. The supply of water is limited to that naturally renewed by the hydrologic cycle or artificially replenished by anthropogenic human activities.
Period-ically, the amount of natural replenishment can exceed water demands during unusually wet periods or fall far below demands during drought periods. The reality of growing needs for a limited resource is one of the factors driving water con-servation efforts and considerations of alternate water sources.
Renewal of water resources depends on the overall amount of precipitation and is affected by temperature, evaporation and transpiration to plants evapotranspirationas well as rates of runoff and groundwater infiltration recharge. The remaining infiltrated water is stored in the ground-water reservoirs aquifers and potentially is available for withdrawal from wells.
Water distribution systems, such as the Israeli National Water Carrier and the Jordanian King Abdullah Canal, distribute water from areas of water surplus to areas of water deficiency. The northern end of the King Abdullah Canal, shown here, receives water diverted from the Yarmouk River via a meter m long tunnel.
Climate Average annual rainfall, in millimeters.
Natural replenishment of water resources in the Middle East varies greatly, as shown below on the map of average annual rainfall which exhibits large changes in relatively small distances across the region.
A Mediterranean-type climate, characterized by a hot, dry summer and cool winter with short transitional seasons predominates in the northern, central, and western parts of the region. The eastern and southern parts of the region have a semi-arid to arid climate. Winter begins around mid-November and summer begins around the end of May.
Rainfall occurs mainly during the winter months. The Middle East experiences extreme seasonal variations in climate, as shown below in graphs of average monthly rainfall, potential evaporation, and average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for various locations.
Large rainfall variations also occur from year to year, as shown in the graph of annual rainfall for Jerusalem. Consecutive years of relatively high or low annual rainfall have an enormous effect on the region and, in the case of dry years, present the greatest challenge to manage the region's precious water resources.
These consecutive-year patterns also may affect water-use practices, policies, and expectations.
At Jerusalem, the wettest year of record,had six times more rainfall thanthe driest year of record. Consecutive wet years provide sustained increases in flow to springs and streams, and groundwater recharge.
Conversely, consecutive dry years produce hydrological droughts. For example, the wettest year period on record, —98, had 1. Climate characteristics exhibit large changes from one area to another and across seasons and years.
As shown on the rainfall map, average rainfall decreases from west to east and from north to south, ranging from 1, millimeters mm at the northern tip of the region to less than 50 mm in the desert areas.
Temperature also varies across the area, generally according to latitude and altitude and by physiographic province see next pages for description of provinces. The hilly areas of the Mountain Belt and Jordan Highland and Plateau experience cold winters and hot summers. The hydrologic year runs from October 1 to September Year dates in the graphs and text of this report refer to water years, not calendar years.
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