Earth Day: Jordan farmers frustrated over shrinking Dead Sea

As the world marks Earth Day 2022 on Friday, farmers in southern Jordan are experiencing the devastating consequences of climate change.

Heightening water scarcity and the appearance of sinkholes in the area close to the Dead Sea have increased each year.

As the population grows with the constant flow of refugees from neighbouring countries, so too does the demand for water and agricultural production. The Dead Sea drops about one metre (three feet) each year, causing major problems for the agricultural sector in Jordan.

According to figures from the United Nations, Jordan is the second most water-scarce country in the world. Because of population growth, industrial and agricultural challenges, and climate change, the country is facing serious repercussions as the demand for water surges.

The Dead Sea, a landlocked salt lake, is located between Jordan, the occupied Palestinian territories, and Israel. It has receded about 20 metres (66 feet) over the past two decades, researchers say. The decline in water levels and subsequently groundwater has caused sinkholes to proliferate.

The April heat beams over Ghor Haditha, an area in southern Jordan next to the Dead Sea, about 100km (60 miles) south of the capital, Amman.

At a farm located a few hundred metres from the sea, sinkholes have greatly affected agricultural production, as large portions of soil have disappeared.

Amina al-Huaima, farm manager at an agricultural site in Ghor Haditha, has been working the land for two decades.

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