Water availability and quality in the Jordan River Valley and the Zarqa River Basin : stakeholders' perspectives
Alshawabka, Z. A. (2019). Water availability and quality in the Jordan River Valley and the Zarqa River Basin : stakeholders’ perspectives (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13122
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13122
The objective of the thesis is to investigate stakeholders’ perspectives of the impacts of pollution in the Jordan River Valley and the Zarqa River Basin in Jordan (Arabic: الأردن Al-Urdunn). The impacts that pollution has on stakeholders are varied and include physical, emotional, and spiritual impacts. Classical Islamic Hermeneutics is used as a qualitative methodological approach. Semistructured face-to-face interviews were conducted with 50 participants to understand the environmental effects of contamination in the study area. The interviewees included residents, local farmers, environmental experts, government, NGOs and religious actors. Five in-depth interviews with water industry actors were also undertaken in order to understand water management issues in Jordan. The study finds that water pollution in the Jordan River Valley and the Zarqa River Basin has affected the economy of the farming community. The pollution has affected the level of income which resulted from farming owing to farmers’ using inadequately treated sewage water to irrigate high-value crops. Furthermore, using partially treated sewage water for irrigation causes additional maintenance costs owing to blockage of the irrigation networks. The pollution has also impacted classical and religious sites on and around the Jordan River Valley and the Zarqa River Basin and led to the loss of fauna and flora. Overall, contamination has had negative impacts on religious, domestic, and international tourism. The effects of pollution, which include pathogens, bad smells, and the spread of harmful insects such as flies and mosquitoes, have also impacted the health, emotional, and spiritual life of the local community in the Jordan River Valley and the Zarqa River Basin. The interviews revealed that institutional factors such as nepotism, the lack of enforcement of environmental laws, and the lack of political will have led to a lack of accountability. The lack of political will to enforce environmental laws has contributed to the increasing levels of contamination in the region and caused hardships in the community. The contribution of this research is to allow those stakeholders’ whose voices are not usually heard to contribute to a level of commentary that might encourage the government to take action. At a broader level, the research elucidates the issue of water scarcity in the Middle East and North Africa countries, many of which are experiencing similar issues to Jordan’s. The classical Islamic Hermeneutics approach is a beneficial approach that can be applied to research in other situations. When compared to western countries, the political factors in Jordan, the Middle East, and North Africa are about more than merely managing water. These factors include cultural factors, specifically existing rights and relationships and nepotism. In this context, water management is much more than a technical issue and is also related to political will. Politicians as well as senior managers in the Jordanian water authorities will need to work with the community to solve the problems stakeholders are currently experiencing. As a first step this task should include applying current laws and regulations fully. This step could then be followed by the introduction of a comprehensive water accounting programme to ensure this scarce resource is shared equitably.
The University of Waikato
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