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19 Sep

Documentary Shows Al-Karamah’s Struggles with Water and Energy

While Al-Karamah used to be called ‘Alabar’ (the wells), the inhabitants face severe water shortages today. A new documentary by the West Asia-North Africa (WANA) Institute and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) depicts the daily struggles of local families with water, electricity, and other issues. The premiere of the documentary titled Al-Karamah … Karameh was held at the Royal Scientific Society on Wednesday.

The village of Al-Karamah is located 29 kilometres west of Amman in the Jordan Valley. “Al-Karamah is the largest town in Central Shouneh with close to 20.000 inhabitants, but the population varies depending on the season as residents move to colder areas of Jordan in the summer,” Ibrahim Fahed Al Adwan, Mayor of Central Shouneh, said.

Agriculture used to be the main source of income for people in Al-Karamah, with 80 per cent of the population working in the sector. During the 1970s, this percentage halved because of increasing water shortages and constraints on Jordanian agricultural exports.

“A lot of land in Al-Karamah has become very salty as people have stopped farming because of a lack of water,” farmer Mohammed Gharib said. Mid-1990s, the Al-Karamah Dam was constructed to sustain agricultural activities in the area, but as the water salinity increased, the dam’s water is now unusable for agricultural purposes. 

The residents of Al-Karamah rely heavily on water tanks to supply drinking water, as the water provided to their homes by the Jordanian Water Authority can only be used for sanitation purposes. “The water distribution network in Al-Karamah is outdated, as it was established in the 1960s,” according to Ibrahim Al Adwan, Mayor of Central Shouneh.

In addition to water and high temperatures, the villagers also struggle with irregular power supply: “Electricity supply fluctuates constantly. Power is often cut, yet we pay high tariffs for the service without receiving enough electricity,” said Roshka al-Mehsiri, who owns a local tailor and is a member of the local council.

The documentary is part of the project ‘Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Jordan and Beyond.’ It showcases how implementing SDG 6 (access to water and sanitation for all), SDG 7 (access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all), and SDG 13 (urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts) can strongly improve the lives of villagers such as the inhabitants of Al-Karamah.

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