The Azraq Basin is one of the most important recharging ground water basins in Jordan. It forms the largest resource of quality ground and surface water in Jordan. The Basin is located in the Northeastern part of the country, extending northwards into Syria and southwards touching the border with Saudi Arabia. The Azraq Oasis is a large mudflat located in the central and lowest part of the basin, 120 km North-East of Amman.
Protection the Azraq Oasis and local livelihoods
The Azraq Oasis is a unique ecosystem in a fragile environment where the remaining wetland is recognized as a RAMSAR Site, it contains a wealth of biodiversity and habitats, and the richest habitat of all exists in its wetlands, which are extremely rare in the region. The Azraq Oasis was especially important for migratory birds, with up to a million birds utilizing the area during the course of a single spring migration. The key challenges facing the Azraq basin are a 20-meter high depression on the groundwater table level; water quality deterioration due to intrusion of brine groundwater from the middle aquifer into the shallow aquifer; utter degradation of the organic soils surrounding the wetland; and socio-economic conflict at the local level.
Building capacities of national stakeholders and local communities around participatory approaches
The project aims at restoring a substantial part of the Azraq Oasis, while balancing water uses, maintaining ecosystem services and addressing long-term access and rights to water by underprivileged groups in the targeted communities. For this purpose, the capacities of national stakeholders and local communities will have to be built on systemic and participatory approaches for the purpose of planning, restoration, development and management of the Azraq Oasis. This is being tested and demonstrated at the intermediate and local levels by promoting increased participation and representation of stakeholders, mainly end-users, in planning and decision-making processes.