Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Karamah dam inquiry

About ten years ago, the Karamah dam in the Jordan Valley was completed at a cost of over fifty million dinars. It lies at the terminus of a side valley known as Wadi Mallahah (the salty valley). Anyway, the idea was to use the dam to store excess water from the King Abdullah canal for use in the summer. Since then the dam has not been used, because the water stored in it became too salty for agriculture or domestic water use. The minister says that we will be able to use it eventually, after all of the salt has been washed out of the soils adjacent to the dam. In the mean time, we can desalinate the water. Geological studies indicate that there is a salt water aquifer beneath the dam that is supplying to the water body, so it looks like we will have to wait a while yet before the dam becomes clean of salt. The ministry of water thinks that tourists might like to come and enjoy the sight. After all, there are no large bodies of salt water in the Jordan valley that tourists might want to visit, are there?

The parliament has discovered this to be an issue, in something that I would brand a meaningless gesture. The parliamentarians are demanding to know why the project is a failure, and have set a date for next Monday to discuss the issue. Sure, good geologic studies of the area would have led to discarding this site. Sure, experts warned at the time that this is a waste of money. But what is the point? Is somebody going to give us our money back?

The point is that the country is currently contemplating a number of multi million and multi billion dinar projects such as the Disi conveyance system and the Red Dead canal project. Some experts have concerns about these projects, but none of these concerns are resonating with the public or politicians.

I guess we will read about parliamentary inquiries into currently considered projects in ten or fifteen years, when it is too late.

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10 Comments:

At 6:17 PM, Anonymous Qwaider قويدر said...

We need to open these for public voting by phone and SMS and see which of these new wonders is going to be our next superstar

 
At 6:20 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

LOL. Do you think that they are anything more than entertainment?

 
At 6:44 PM, Anonymous Hamzeh N. said...

That is an excellent point man.

 
At 7:47 PM, Anonymous Qwaider قويدر said...

I just love it when people talk, common sense kicks, experts warn and just about every sign in Nature tries to warn us ... and we just go ahead and do it anyway! You know ... El Tawfeeq min Allah

 
At 9:34 PM, Anonymous jameed said...

A wise person commented a couple of weeks ago when the news of Jordan's abitions to join the "nuclear club" were announced:

"يا زلمة إحنا نبني سد ومش مدبرين حالنا فيه، وهو عاد بآخر النهار حيط إسمنت"

I think you should add the proposed reactor to the Disi and canal projects you mentioned.

 
At 10:32 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Hamzeh: Thanks.

Qwaider: That, plus everybody who makes a decision knows that he/she will be out of office by the time anybody gets around to figuring what happened.

Jameed: As you know, I support the nuclear project. Obviously, just because some projects were screwed up doesn't mean that we shouldn't have any more new projects. It just means that the review process should be critical and thorough. It is not too hard.

 
At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hindsight is 20/20. Well, maybe not. The issue of this dam is symptomatic of the way planning and execution of projects is and has been carried out in Jordan. The question of accountability is almost non-existent. More important the question of transparent and meaningful inclusion of all concerned parties is ceremonial. Unfortunately we find this across the board, whether it is in tourism, agriculture, infrastructure, etc. Jordan has a brilliant potential, human and otherwise; it is a pity not to unleash it for its proper use. As for immediate and short-term ribbon-cutting gratifications, maybe we should designate a hero of the month award aimed at all those concerned with personal agendas and flashlights. I propose the award to be 1 million JD a month. With he rate we are going, we would still be saving at the end.

 
At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The previous minister par excellance Monder Haddadin had commented on the issue on Saturday's Alrai paper. Did not read the whole article yeat but it ended with a line from TARAFA IBN EL ABD !!

 
At 12:37 AM, Blogger Shifaa said...

Khalaf, I think that the Parlimant should still investigate. It is main purpose of its existence is providing accountablity to the Excutive branch, so when the latter fail in conducting its duties because of negligance or corruption somebody should be put on trial.

 
At 2:41 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Essam: your optimism is refreshing. I agree, if that is what really is going to happen. More likely, some useless firey speaches and the formation of a committee that will never meet.

 

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