Published on Arab Voices

#Wateris disappearing in Jordan – how?

As the world gathers in Paris to hammer out a global agreement on how to cope with climate change, Jordan Times journalist, Khetam Malkawi offers her view on the critical challenge of water scarcity in Jordan.
Ministry of Water and Irrigation
70% of water loss in Jordan is due to theft.

In terms of natural, renewable water resources, Jordan is one of the ten most water-deprived countries in the world , but despite this, it lacks systematic efforts to control domestic use of water in households.
Jordan has a relatively small population of about 6 million, but the amount of water available for each person is 88% below the international water poverty line (of 1,000 cubic meters per person a year). Mega projects are being launched to address the demand for water, which is growing annually by about 6%, but more needs to be done to bring innovative water-saving solutions into houses.
In particular, more efforts are needed to educate consumers on how to save water. In 2007, a pioneering aid-funded project distributed high-efficiency water fixtures to households, mosques, and schools in different governorates. Since then, however, there’s been no project like it.
The project was good but it was not enough. The water deficit is a crucial issue when the demand for fresh water from renewable sources exceeds 1.5 billion cubic meters annually, but falls short by around 500 million cubic meters.  
Studies by Jordan’s water authorities have shown that installing water-saving devices could cut water use by 30% in Jordan . Local studies show that 50% of water consumption comes from faucets—half of it from kitchen taps—and that water consumption in home kitchens in Jordan is 25% higher than the international average .
Ministry of Water and Irrigation
Two million cubic meters of water from the 10 major dams
​ in Jordan lost to evaporation during hot spell
in August 2015. 

​To quench the thirst of its citizens, Jordan’s water authorities need to focus on new nationwide projects by introducing new solutions to rationing the use of water, with the help of donor agencies. And, as studies indicate that toilets account for another 30% of residential indoor water consumption in Jordan , efforts should be also directed toward raising awareness of WaterSense-labeled toilets, and probably composting toilets, too, which help save water and energy.
Using such technologies should be a priority for Jordan’s national water authorities, as although mega water projects will help, new technologies represent long- and short-term solutions to reducing the waste of water.
Jordan has signed a deal for building the country's first water desalination plant, with a capacity of 5 million cubic meters of water a year, in the Red Sea port of Aqaba.
Jordan's Prime Minister, Abdullah Ensour, announced at the recent World Water Week in Sweden that a water desalination plant with a total capacity of 80 million cubic meters per year will also be constructed by the end of 2019.
Solutions to the water deficit are even more urgent because Jordan has witnessed a huge influx of refugees since 2011, including some 1.5 million Syrians. This has increased demand for water in northern governorates by as much as 40%, prompting local authorities to plan to use water from the Disi aquifer, meant to provide water only to Jordan’s capital of Amman , to governorates in the north as well.
Water thefts account for 70% of water loss in Jordan, according to Jordanian water authority . Launching mega projects, combating water thefts, implementing water management programs, reducing the percentage of water loss and leakages, are all important issues, but introducing new water-saving solutions are equally important.
Promoting new solutions inside houses—such as water flow valves, toilet tank bags, and water efficient shower heads—is a must for Jordan. And more needs to be done to promote the use of grey water re-use in households, too.
Some small-sized campaigns and projects have been launched in recent years. For such efforts to succeed, though, there is a need for collaboration among all stakeholders, including donors, authorities, NGOs, civil society and the users of household water themselves. 

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