Developmental Advantages of the Jordan Badia
The Jordan Badia has many diverse characteristics and untapped resources that make it a strong candidate for broad-ranging development activities:
1. The Badia is a strategic area for livestock breeders as it includes most of the country’s rangelands.
2. The Badia contains most of Jordan’s important groundwater and resources, such as the Al-Azraq basin and the Disi aquifer.
3. The Badia is rich in numerous minerals and natural sources like oil shale, zeolite and volcanic tuff, kaolin and other clay minerals, silica and sand glass, and others.
4. The ruins and remains of many Umayyad palaces and Roman cities are spread throughout the Jordan Badia, and represent potential opportunities to develop Badia tourism and thus create jobs for local communities.
5. The Jordan Badia is characterized by a diverse landscape, climate and varying ecosystems. These all provide a suitable environment for the development of the touristic sector and desert tourism.
6. Despite low rainfall in the Badia, surface runoff is relatively high and represents a strong opportunity for constructing dams and developing of water harvesting projects.
7. The Badia soils are characterized by a high proportion of carbonates. This phenomenon will reduce the environmental impacts from using reclaimed wastewater for irrigating industrial and fodder crops, and from using treated sewage sludge to improve soil properties.
8. The warm climate of the Jordan Badia forms opportunities for investment in strategic crops such as the date palm.
9. The Jordan Badia is characterized by wide and flat wadis (valleys), which promote the harvesting and utilization of surface water, which can help in the restoration of shrubs and indigenous plants of the Badia.
10. Fruit tree orchards are spread in many areas such as Mafraq, Um Elrasas, Al-Shobak, Ma’an, Wadi Rum, and Disi, representing opportunities to develop the food industries of the Badia through the introduction of strategic crops.
11. The Badia is characterized by a hot, dry climate and clear sunny days, making it the most suitable area in Jordan for the exploitation of solar energy and wind power.
12. The Badia’s vast open spaces make the region suitable for the establishment of organized residential and industrial cities that compete with areas of similar geography and topography, as well as areas of Amman and other main cities where land prices are extremely high.
13. The widespread layout of the Badia gives it the following advantages:
◦ Adjacency of the central Badia to the capital Amman.
◦ Proximity of the southern Badia to Aqaba, Jordan’s only sea port.
◦ Strategic location of the northern Badia on the crossroads between several countries.
◦ Border locations shared with four neighboring countries, representing opportunities to establish joint projects on these borders that can facilitate trading and touristic movement to and from these countries.
◦ A rich cultural and social heritage – by virtue of broad land area – that contributes to overall Jordanian social diversity.
Key constraints to the Badia development process:
1. Many people are unwilling to move to the Badia due to low levels of services and facilities in some areas.
2. Limited ability or willingness of development workers to move within the Badia due to long distances between some areas.
3. Physical limitations of climate, soil and water in some areas.
4. Acceleration of desertification and soil degradation in some areas may restrict sustainable development, particularly for agricultural projects.
5. Land ownership and tribal interference issues within the Badia can limit the implementation and extent of some projects.
6. Poor coordination, and poor distribution of responsibilities among the institutions and the authorities responsible for the development of the Badia.
Despite these constraints, the numerous developmental advantages of the Badia still render it a strong candidate for sweeping development efforts. Furthermore, organizations like the Hashemite Fund for the Development of Jordan Badia and its counterparts are working to address and alleviate these constraints.