East Ghor Main Canal
The King Abdullah Canal is the largest irrigation canal system in Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 and runs parallel to the east bank of the Jordan River. It was previously known as the East Ghor Main Canal and renamed in 1987 after Abdullah I of Jordan
Abdullah I of Jordan
Abdullah I bin al-Hussein, King of Jordan [‘Abd Allāh ibn al-Husayn] عبد الله الأول بن الحسين born in Mecca, Second Saudi State, was the second of three sons of Sherif Hussein bin Ali, Sharif and Emir of Mecca and his first wife Abdiyya bint Abdullah...


Water sources and technical features

The main water source for the King Abdullah Canal (KAC) is the Yarmouk River
Yarmouk River
The Yarmouk River is the largest tributary of the Jordan River. It drains much of the Hauran Plateau. It is one of three main tributaries which enter the Jordan between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. To the south, are the Jabbok/Zarqa and the Arnon/Wadi Mujib) rivers...

 and the Al-Mukhaibeh wells within the Yarmouk valley: farther south, additional water flows from Wadi el-Arab and from the Zarqa River, and its reservoir behind King Talal Dam
King Talal Dam
The King Talal Dam is a large dam in the hills of northern Jordan, across the Zarqa River.The King Talal dam was started in 1971, with the original construction being completed in 1977...

. As a result of the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty, some Yarmouk River water is also stored seasonally in Lake Tiberias, being conveyed through a pipe. The canal’s design capacity is 20 m3/second at the northern entrance of the Canal and 2.3 m3/second at its southern end. Water flows by gravity along its 110 km length, ranging in elevation from about 230 meters below sea level to almost 400 meters below. The Canal supplies water for irrigation and 90 million cubic meters/year of drinking water for Greater Amman through the Deir Allah-Amman carrier, which has been constructed in two phases in the mid-80s and in the early 2000s. The Zarqa River contains a mixture of treated wastewater and natural water flow, which influences the water quality downstream of the Zarqa River intake into the KAC.


The canal was designed in 1957 and was built in phases. Construction began in 1959, and the first section was completed in 1961. By 1966, the upstream portion to Wadi Zarqa
Zarqa River
The Zarqa River is the second largest tributary of the lower Jordan River, after the Yarmouk River. It is the third largest river in the region by annual discharge, and its watershed encompasses the most densely populated areas east of the Jordan River...

 was completed. The canal was then 70 km in length, and was subsequently extended three times between 1969 and 1987. The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, through USAID provided financing for the initial phase of project, after obtaining explicit assurances from the Jordanian government that Jordan would not withdraw more water from the Yarmouk than the amount allocated to it according to the Johnston Plan.. It was also involved in later phases.

The original canal was part of a larger project - the Greater Yarmouk project - which envisioned two storage dams on the Yarmouk, and a future West Ghor Canal, on the West Bank of the Jordan. This other canal was never built, because Israel captured the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 from Jordan during the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

. After the Six-Day War, The PLO operated from bases within Jordan, and launched several attacks on Israeli settlements in the Jordan valley, including attacks on water facilities. Israel responded with raids in Jordan, in an attempt to force King Hussein to rein in the PLO. The canal was the target of at least 4 of these raids, and was virtually knocked out of commission. The United States intervened to resolve the conflict, and the canal was repaired after Hussein undertook to stop PLO activity in the area.
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