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   أحمـد عبد البــــاســط رجـــوب  

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WATER IN JORDAN

Shortage of water : The greatest environmental challenge that Jordan faces is the scarcity of water. Indeed, water is the decisive factor in the population/resources equation. Whereas water resources in Jordan have fluctuated around a stationary average, the country's population has continued to rise.

Jordan is the fourth water poorest country in the world in a regional system defined by uncertainty and instability. This analysis (1) outlines the main challenges and opportunities of increasing national water supply and reducing economic and demographic sectors demand burden, (2) details the institutional interests of the stakeholders in the water debate, (3) analyzes the costs and benefits of a range of water policy options, and (4) recommends an integrated, multi-sectoral series of steps to reform the water sector.

Following an assessment of major supply and demand issues, institutional realities, and stakeholder interests, this leads to recommends:

  • Adopt a comprehensive, long-term water strategy that incorporates more open access to information and heightened coordination and cooperation between sectors.

  • Continue updating the water network while assessing whether mega projects offer the most efficient and sustainable use of limited funds.

  • Combine increased education and technical support with financial incentives to shift production away from water-intensive, low-yield crops.

  • Step up enforcement of existing laws regarding weekly water quotas and illegally tapping groundwater sources, possibly to include the transfer of authority from Water Ministry officials to law enforcement officials.

 Water management plays a very important role in bridging the huge gap between water demand and available resources. This makes all possible efforts highly required to maintain the per capita amount of water available to be delivered in an adequate and efficient way to people of Jordan and maintain the generation's rights of these resources.

Water industry has been always facing financial problems in addition to the water scarcity that complicated water business in the country, in addition to the population growth and refugees fluxes.

 

Water subsidy is effecting the government and the sector performance heavily and this has to be resolved with international business practices that make the O&M cost recovery possible to sustain the water business in the country. One of which is the commercial principles in the operation of water utilities.

Secure adequate water resources quantity and quality" for different use to achieve community welfare and environmental safety. Detailed objectives:

-         Integrated water resource management and optimized utilization.

-         Water resources protection and conservation.

-         Regulation and coordination among different water institutions in the country.

-         Increasing public awareness about the value of water

-         Water Sector Issues as under:

The issues of the water situation were analyzed, and the problem was set out, the issues were extensively discussed, and refined. The essential aspects of these issues are outlined in the following table:

Areas

Issues

Water Resources Assessment/ Management

Develop water resources management strategy options and recommend actions to balance demands, supply, and control quality.

 

Water Quality

Develop options and recommend actions for water resources management.

Groundwater Pollution

Identify its scale and sources.

Increasing problem awareness.

 

Municipal Water Conservation

Ensure access to adequate water supplies of suitable quality.

  Promote and demonstrate maximum water conservation.

Waste water Reuse

   Promote acceptance and use of treated waste water.

   Understanding caused of failures.

Water Resources Conservation & Pollution Protection in Agriculture

  Optimize water use in agriculture. (crops, irrigation techniques, inputs).

  Minimize impacts of agriculture on water quality.

  Develop and demonstrate alternative agriculture systems.

Public Awareness

Conserve and protect water resources through community action and participation as well as enhanced public awareness.

Community Participation

  Achieve public participation in the development and implementation of national policies for water conservation and ensure accountability.

  Achieve sustainable and equitable water resources development through active public participation in the design and implementation of national policies for water conservation and protection.  

Water Legislation

  Develop effective legal framework for water resources management.

A high rate of natural population growth, combined with periodic massive influxes of refugees has transformed a comfortable balance between population and water in the first half of this century into a chronic and worsening imbalance in the second half.

The situation has been exacerbated by the fact that Jordan shares most of its surface water resources with neighbouring countries, whose control has partially deprived Jordan of its fair share of water.

Current use already exceeds renewable supply. The deficit is covered by the unsustainable practice of overdrawing highland aquifers, resulting in lowered water tables and declining water.

On a per capita basis, Jordan has one of the lowest levels of water resources in the world. Most experts consider countries with a per capita water production below 1,000 cubic meters per year to be water-poor countries.

Responding to the challenge, Jordan has adopted a multi-faceted approach designed to both reduce demand as well as increase supply.

The peace treaty signed in 1994 by Jordan and Israel guaranteed Jordan its right to an additional 215 MCM of water annually through new dams, diversions structures, pipelines and a desalination/purification plant. Of this 215 MCM, Jordan is already receiving between 55 and 60 MCM of water from across the border with Israel through a newly-built pipeline. Jordan is also entitled to build a series of dams on the Jordan and Yarmouk rivers to impound it s share of flood waters. To this end, the Karama Dam in the Jordan valley has been built to store 55 MCM of water, mainly from the Yarmouk, and its yield will be used to help irrigate some 6000 hectares in the southern Jordan Valley.

 

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