Al-Birketein Roman pools of Jerash (Gerasa), Jordan

The site of this case study is located in an ancient Greco-Roman city called Jerash today, Gerasa in antiquity, Antiochia in the Hellenistic times, built on the banks of the Gold River, one of Jordan River tributaries. The city's peak came under Roman reign, and Jerash is now acknowledged as one of the best conserved Roman cities in the world. This is largely due to the fact that the city remained buried in sand for centuries before being discovered in the 1800s.   

Al- Birketein (= double pool) was a reservoir in which water was stored for agricultural use and city supply. Its two pools are part of a sophisticated water harvesting system that in fact supplied the main city fountain (nympheum). It was also the place of celebration of the notorious water related festivities of Maiuma, in May every year.

Overall, the case study aims to shed light to the Al- Birketein site in order to be better protected, rehabilitated and exploited as a destination for eco- or cultural tourists. Although the site is today under the jurisdiction of the Department of Antiquity, it is not catered or protected and thus is vulnerable. The locals, unaware of the site’s importance, utilise it as a resort area for swimming or excursions, with the obvious negative impacts on the site itself.

Moreover, it is hoped that the model proposed will be considered as a possible water saving method, through rain harvesting in the water scarce Jordan where every drop should count (throughout the country there are about 200 such ponds).