Is the water from Kafranja Dam safe to drink?

هل مياه سد كفرنجه صالحة للشرب

Water is considered Kafranja Dam in northern Jordan as a source Important for surface waters, and of great importance to local communities. A recent study was conducted to evaluate the quality of this water from physical and chemical aspects during the summer and winter seasons of 2019.

Many countries in the world today suffer from major challenges in the field of water scarcity, and among these countries, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan stands out as one of the prominent examples. The severe shortage of water resources in Jordan represents an increasingly difficult challenge for its population, as the country’s annual per capita water consumption rates exceed less than 100 cubic meters per year, well below the international limit of the water poverty line of 500 cubic meters per year per capita [Ministry of Water and Jordanian Irrigation, 2017].

These challenges increase when we take into account that the uses of available water resources in the country are expected to increase by up to 60% by 2025, which increases pressure on these resources and exacerbates the water crisis [Jordanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation, 2016]. Therefore, it becomes necessary to address this current situation that Jordan is going through and the factors that contributed to its aggravation.

In addition, it should be noted that Jordan is a country with an arid and semi-arid climate, with 90% of its lands classified as dry lands, and its climates vary between desert regions to the northern and western high-altitude regions that witness a moderate climate and the Jordan Valley regions, which are characterized by a semi-tropical climate. . Total annual rainfall ranges from 100 mm in the southeastern deserts to 600 mm in the northern highlands, with more than 91% of the country receiving less than 200 mm of rainfall [Frenken, 2009; Ministry of Environment, Water and Environment and UN Development, 2014].

What is Kafranja Dam?

Kafranja Dam

Wadi Kafranja, or what is also known as Wadi Ajloun, is a valley extending between the regions of Kafranja and Ajloun in northern Jordan, where rain and spring water flows from the regions of Ajloun and Kafranja and empties into the Jordan River. In 2011, the Jordanian government decided to build a dam in this valley and it was called Kafranja Dam. The Jordan Valley Authority of the Jordanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MWI) has begun building a dam in this valley to collect spring water and rain in a collection area estimated at about 99 square kilometers in the city of Ajloun in northern Jordan, where annual precipitation rates are about 600 mm. In 2016, the construction of the Kafranja Dam was completed. The dam is located 70 kilometers northwest of the Jordanian capital, Amman.

Design of Kafranja Dam.

تصميم سد

The Kafranja Dam was designed as a concrete dam with a rock-face filled with concrete, and is the first of its kind in Jordan. The dam is about 80.5 meters high and about 275 meters long, and has a storage capacity of about 7.8 million cubic metres. The Kafranja Dam atmospheric collection area is classified as a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and relatively mild and humid winters. The lands surrounding the dam are characterized by a generally undulating terrain, with slopes extending westward. The dam’s main water resources include rainfall and spring water flowing from the Kafranja Basin catchment area.

The dam was built to receive base and flood flows from Wadi Kafranja. In addition, the dam receives wastewater from the Kafranja water treatment plant. It is planned to use the dam’s water mainly for drinking and irrigation purposes, in addition to replenishing ground water.

How was the study built on the waters of the Kafranja Dam?

Kafranja Dam water

Nine sampling sites (from Site 1 to Site 9) were studied in Kafranja Dam during the summer and winter seasons of 2019. Sampling and analysis operations were carried out, including studying the physical and chemical factors of water quality in this dam.

Physical aspects of water quality.

The samples were analyzed for several physical parameters such as temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and electrical conductivity. Similar distributions are found for most of these parameters along the dam, with the highest concentrations recorded in the area near the dam entrance.

Chemical aspects of water quality

The content of major metals, major anions and heavy metals in the water was also analyzed. The results indicate that most of these parameters exceed the maximum permissible limits according to Jordanian standards and international standards for use in drinking and irrigation, with the exception of electrical conductivity (EC), which exceeds WHO standards.

Water Quality Index (WQI).

Use the water quality index to estimate the suitability of Kafranja Dam water for drinking. The results showed that this water is chemically unsuitable for drinking use and needs proper treatment before use.

Suitability of water for irrigation.

On the other hand, irrigation indicators such as sodium percentage (Na%), sulfur percentage (SAR), and ammonium percentage (MH) indicated that the water from Kafranja Dam is chemically suitable for use in irrigation. The results also showed that this water falls into the categories of good to permissible for irrigation use according to the USSL scheme.

Recommendations and conclusions.

Based on the results presented in this study, it can be said that the water from Kafranja Dam may be suitable for use in irrigation in general, but the land’s tolerance to salinity must be taken into account. It is preferable to grow crops with good salt tolerance. As for drinking use, the water must be properly treated to comply with health standards.

Summary of the study and answer to the question.

Kafranja Dam in Ajloun Governorate
  • The study was conducted on the Kafranja Dam in northern Jordan, which was recently built to use its water for drinking and irrigation and to relieve pressure on water supplies in the northern region.
  • The study aimed to determine the quality of the dam’s water, search for potential sources of pollution, and evaluate the suitability of the dam’s water for different uses.
  • The results of the study showed that most of the physical and chemical parameters of the dam’s water showed a similar trend in terms of spatial distribution, as their highest concentrations were observed in locations near the entrance of the dam, while their lowest concentrations were recorded in locations near the end of the dam.
  • This distribution is due to natural flows from the surrounding catchment areas, such as products of rock fragmentation and soil erosion, as well as agricultural activities and wastewater entering the dam through Wadi Kafranja.
  • The highest concentrations of electrical conductivity (EC), calcium, magnesium, hydrogen carbonate, and nitrate were recorded during the winter season, and this could be attributed to the products of rock fragmentation and dissolution and soil erosion during the rainy season.
  • The highest concentrations of sodium, potassium, chlorine, and sulfur were recorded during the summer, and this could be related to the high rate of evaporation, carbonate deposition, agricultural activities, and animal waste in Wadi Kafranja.
  • All studied physical and chemical parameters and heavy metals in the water of Kafranja Dam comply with the standards published by the official authorities concerned with water in Jordan and the World Health Organization for drinking water, as well as for irrigation water.
  • The Water Quality Index (WQI) was calculated using the weighted arithmetic comprehension method, and the results indicated that the quality of surface water in Kafranja Dam ranges from very poor for drinking during the summer to poor for drinking during the winter, but remains suitable for other purposes.


Kafranja Dam in Ajloun Governorate

The results of this study demonstrate the importance of the Kafranja Dam in meeting the water needs of northern Jordan, and confirm that the dam’s water complies with international and national water quality standards, with the exception of electricity conductivity (EC), which exceeds the World Health Organization’s drinking standards. It shows the hard work that has gone into building this dam, securing the water sources and managing them effectively.

Water scarcity challenges in Jordan are persistent and require sustained efforts to address them. Optimizing the use of Kafranga Dam water and other water resources in the region should be a focus to alleviate pressure on water supplies and meet the needs of the growing population. In addition, sustainable efforts must be continued to monitor water quality and ensure its compliance with environmental and health standards.

Ultimately, sustainable management of water resources in Jordan must be promoted with active participation by the government and the local community, and awareness of the importance of conserving and sustaining water as a vital strategic resource must be enhanced. Improving water quality and developing drainage and purification procedures can contribute to achieving the sustainability of water resources in this beautiful and important country. sources

Assessing Water Quality of Kufranja Dam (Jordan) for Drinking and Irrigation: Application of the Water Quality Index

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