The water sector in Jordan is considered to be one of the vital and important sectors. It deals with the reality that Jordan is the country which represents the most critical water case worldwide. Taking into consideration the great importance of water and how it is linked to social security, political and economic, Jordanian government cabinets have paid the greatest of attention towards water issues seeing as Jordan is known to be one of the poorest countries worldwide in water supply. As such, there has been a focus and concentrated attention on the water sector since His Majesty Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein ascended to the throne of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Over the past years, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation including its water authority and the Jordan valley authority have taken large strides towards dealing with this reality, and have prepared for several scenarios through strategies to address growing water demand; especially after the Syrian refugee crisis, which raised the demand for water by more than 21%. As a result, the National Water Strategy of 2016-2025, along with the accompanying policies and the investment program have been implemented to cope with this increase in demand and are in line with the Jordan 2025 document, the National Strategy.
Water Security is one of the most important aspects of this strategy, aiming to achieve sustainability of water sources, improving the efficiency and the level of water, and sanitation services for customers to reach 80% by 2025; while focusing on expansion in the use of treated water to substitute freshwater for drinking purposes.
Accordingly, the ministry seeks to provide new sources of fresh water, to exceed 187 million cubic meters, as well as implementing the water supply strategy for the northern governorates till the year 2028. This occurs in line with bringing forward the project of supplying the water of Wadi Araba, to secure 30 million cubic meters annually by the year 2019 at a cost of 125 Million Dollars. In addition, there is the project of the Red-Dead conveyance, which aims to protect the Dead Sea water as well as provide desalination. The Ministry has already succeeded in achieving the first seawater desalination project in Aqaba, with an annual capacity of 5 million cubic meters.
The Ministry is strengthening the principle of integrated water recourses management to achieve sustainable development goals for the water sector (SDGs); in addition to the economic reform program in the water sector to reduce the deficit of 110% in 2010 to become around 56%, and to lower the cost range from 71% to 42% in 2025. Also, the aim is to adopt effective national programs and strategies to face the conditions of climate change and water, energy and other increasing burdens. The management of the water sector is working to reduce the effects of gas emissions resulting from global warming and to increase the competencies of plants operating in the Wastewater treatment plants, of which up to 31 plants utilize the latest mechanical strategies covering the center, north and south governorates.
In addition to expanding the number of stations and increasing the proportion of sewerage users from about 63% to 80%, the aim is to provide greater quantities of pure drinking water through the increase of the quantities of recycled water used from about 94 million cubic meters, to a total of 240 million cubic meters in 2025. This will result in increasing the irrigated plots in a number of areas, achieving economic development as well as providing progress in the life style of large segments of people sideby-side with the expansion of the storage of dams and raising their capacity to reach 400 million cubic meters. Effective policies to harvest rain water and expansion in reliance on alternative energy assist the Ministry in reducing overall energy consumption by 15% and will increase the share of renewable energy in the water sector by about 10%. The use of solar energy could provide savings of more than JD 40 million annually.
That’s not all, but the ministry also works on developing the Wadi Araba area into an attractive area for tourism, industry and investment.
The Ministry gave priority to protect groundwater sources through its campaign to take control of these water sources, which started in June 2013 with support from all public and private institutions, to reduce over pumping and to increasing protected water sources by about 60%. This is achieved through continued law enforcement and protection from tampering. To this extent, the Ministry achieved significant success in protecting national water security and justice among citizens, after extensive amendments to the laws of the Water Authority which increased penalties and punishments, communicating this to citizens. The aim is to protect every drop of water to achieve general deterrence, to maintain the water sources for generations to come.
In the same context , and with a view to reduce water losses to approximately 30% by 2025, the ministry has implemented a large number of water projects which include the construction of new pumping stations, distribution networks and subsectors of the National Water Carrier system; which all leads to water empowerment to face the challenges, developments and growing needs while lifting the cost recovery rate of operation and maintenance to 116%, as well as the proportion of the total cost recovery to 74% including a reduction of governmental subsidy for the water sector.