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Ministry launches new project to fight water scarcity in northern Jordan

By JT - Nov 21,2020 - Last updated at Nov 21,2020

AMMAN — The Improvement of Northern Water Supply System project responds to a pressing need of increasing water supply in the northern governorates and forms part of the national water strategy aimed at optimising water distribution across the country, according to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation.

“The Ministry of Water and Irrigation has set itself the task of combating the water shortage in Irbid Governorate,” Water Minister Motasem Saidan said during a meeting after the opening of the project, which will supply Irbid with an additional 30 million cubic metres annually.

“Increasing the water supply is only one aspect to improve the situation in the North. We need to have a comprehensive approach to improve the situation of the people, regarding water losses, water storage capacities and water saving,” the minister was quoted as saying in a ministry statement.

The shortages in water were already a challenge for municipalities in Jordan’s north when the system only had to supply Jordanian households. As numbers of displaced people from Syria seeking refuge in the region keep rising, host communities face an additional challenge, the statement said.

Providing an adequate supply of clean water “pushes many communities to their limits”. The Water Ministry has therefore initiated another project, which aims at improving the living conditions of the Jordanian population, Syrian refugees, as well as vulnerable groups, promoting social cohesion, health and sustainable development in the region, the statement said.

So far, more than 60,000 residents in 10 communities benefited from improved water supply. Through the project interventions, water losses were reduced by 50 per cent, the statement said.

The ministry is implementing the project at different levels: Damaged water networks are repaired, and modern rooftop water tanks as well as barrier-free entrances to water facilities are installed in private households and public institutions, such as schools and mosques.

To achieve this objective, the Water Ministry cooperates closely with the Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) as well as the water provider Yarmouk Water Company (YWC) and receives support from the German government through the German Agency for International Cooperation GIZ.

The Water Ministry aims at involving all stakeholders, including the local population, to ensure the sustainability of the project.

Residents of the 10 partner communities have the opportunity to be part of so-called stakeholder dialogue platforms, where local community members, Syrian refugees, the elderly and persons with disabilities meet with water providers to discuss water-related issues. Representatives of all groups within the local population are playing an important role in ensuring that water is distributed equitably across communities, the ministry said.


Rehabilitation of infrastructure


The water infrastructure is being continuously rehabilitated, both at household and communal level.

By repairing old and outdated water networks and installing new ones in areas which were lacking water supply services, the project is helping to improve the region’s water supply where more than 350,000 cubic metres are saved annually.

Moreover, through providing and installing more than 10,000 water saving and storage devices, such as rooftop water tanks, water saving faucets and water saving toilets, the project has improved water storage and water use efficiency in more than 75 per cent of households, the statement said.

In order to ensure a long-term impact, the project also trains and builds the capacity of water providers and the community by training them on different topics and raising awareness.

 The Water Ministry “drove already many positive changes” in Irbid Governorate since the project’s beginning in 2015, the statement said.

With a total budget of 10 million euros, the project is scheduled to last until 2022, the ministry said.

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