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 (Jordan Vision).
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 resoures management to achieve sustainable development goals for the water sector (SDGs). the management of the water sector is working to reduce gas emissions resulting from global warming and to increase the competencies of plants specialized in the wastewater treatment plants. Up to 31 plants operate according to these 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 water investment capitalizes on areas of improvement according to the government’s Water Strategy to encourage efficient use of natural resources, to augment water supply, to expand wastewater treatment and to minimize water losses. The current five prospective investment opportunities are:
1. Aqaba-Amman National Conveyance project (AAWDC Project): To enhance the Kingdom’s national water security by producing potable water through desalination at the Gulf of Aqaba and transferring 150MCM/Year of additional water to Amman.
2. As Samra Treatment Plant (3rd phase/2nd expansion): To expand the capacity of the plant by an additional treatment capacity of 100,000 CM per day and to establish a solar power plant with 10 MW capacity.
3. Non-Revenue Water (NRW) Reduction: To reduce physical and commercial water losses in Amman.
4. Hisban Brackish Water Desalination 10-15 MCM/Year: The project aims to augment water sources by 10-15 million cubic meters per year (through the drilling of 10 wells) and to develop solar energy to provide about 15MW.
5. Al Ghabawi Wastewater Septic Tank Facility Project: The project aims to construct a new septic 25-tank facility to replace and relocate an existing facility currently co-located at Ain Ghazal. The capacity will be 25,000 cubic meters per day located at Al Ghabawi. 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 100% in 2021, as well as the proportion of the total cost recovery to 74% including a reduction of governmental subsidy for the water sector.