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The Waters of Discord

The Al-Ajarmeh family is a family of settled Bedouins living in Jordan, near the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea.


Humans&Climate Change Stories met them for the first time at the beginning of summer 2019, as the drought was already erasing the deadly floods of winter.


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HCCS Jordanie Ismael Samuel Turpin.JPG

Farès : Ismaël's nephew

Up to the age of 16, he used to lead the herds to drinking water. He became a tourist guide to adapt to the changes brought by the modern world, while still perpetuating his Bedouin heritage. He built a small grocery store, which is run by his parents, and would like to start farming a bit again.

HCCS Jordanie Ali Samuel Turpin.JPG
Ismaël :
The eldest
Farès :
Ismaël's nephew
Ali :
Farès's cousin

Ismaël - The eldest

As a child, he lived in Bedouin tents or in caves with the livestock. He has gradually abandoned livestock breeding and farming, because of the effects of climate change, and has adapted by learning to do many different jobs. He repeats proudly: "Being Bedouin means being free."

HCCS Jordanie Fares samuel turpin.JPG

Ali- Farès's cousin

Although most of the younger generation have completely abandoned the agricultural sector, Ali has just one dream: to grow crops. The market has become speculative, however, particularly for locations near water sources, and his father has sold all of the family farmland to property developers.


Population: 10,3  millions

Capital: Amman (2,1 millions)

Head of State: King Abdallah II

In the Middle East, the periods of drought have become increasingly severe and rainfall has decreased by 30% on average in 15 years. Two-thirds of the water reserves could dry up by 2100.


In the world's most arid region, "Water is life", but it's also business.


This "blue gold" has been at the heart of the region's conflicts for 60 years now - without this really being acknowledged.

In Jordan, the vast majority of the Bedouin - who have been living a settled life for 40 years now - have abandoned the tradition of livestock breeding and farming. Discouraged by the effects of climate change and economic reforms that ignore them, and absorbed by an urban expansion fuelled by 5 million refugees from Palestinian, Kuwaiti, Iraqi and finally Syrian conflicts, the Bedouin have resigned themselves to selling their land, gaining short-term benefit from the property speculation.

Caught up in an identity crisis, the younger generation have become "water carriers", travelling back and forth across the country with their water trucks - mainly to supply the capital, Amman - until stocks run out.


88 794 km2



116,06 hab/km²



 2,16 % (2018)

HDI (2014)

0,723 (135/186)


per capita

4248 USD

Rate of Inflation

4,46 % (2018)

4 % christians

90 %




4,3 %


28,9 %


66,8 %

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