December 3 2022 10:54 PM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

Jerash’s chronic water shortages force camp residents to boil unsafe water

1. Jerash Water
A boy looks out over Jerash Camp, one of 10 UNRWA Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan. Water is delivered one every 20 days, according to one resident interviewed by Jordan News. (Photo: UNRWA)
JERASH — For the past several years, Jerash Governorate has suffered from chronic water shutoffs. Residents across the governorate have filed complaint after complaint, but they say the Water Management Directorate has not addressed the problem.اضافة اعلان

Jordan News spoke to a number of Jerash residents to document their experience with these chronic shortages.

Bilal Muhammad, a Jerash resident, explained that while he receives water periodically, he also has to purchase additional water. He stressed that the JD20 he pays to make up the difference is something he “cannot afford”.

“Miserable and unbearable,” is how Sami Wahidi described the water shortages where he lives. Wahidi lives in Jerash Camp, one of 10 officially recognized UNRWA Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan.

“Water comes at least every 20 days,” he said, adding that he and his fellow residents are forced to ration out the water they receive. “We cannot get water to our tanks ... as the streets are narrow and the houses are compact.”

The way the camp is laid out does not allow for wells to be dug or water tanks to be constructed, he explained. His roof is made out of corrugated steel or plastic, which simply does not hold the weight of a water tank, he said.
What they need, he told Jordan News, is weekly, regular deliveries of water, rather than the 20-day interval they currently have.

Potable water costs JD6 per cubic meter, he said, and it can take up to two weeks to arrive. A cheaper alternative is buying unsafe water at JD4 per cubic meter, which they have to boil and sterilize at home. This is also true of the water they receive from the governorate.

“Even if it is our turn to receive the water, the water pressure is low — it takes a long time to fill the tanks,” he said. Additionally, the water that comes is filled with sediment, which “takes up a good amount of space.”

“When will we be able to clean our homes and wash our clothes without the need to hang them out dirty, waiting until it is our turn to receive water?” Wihadi asked.

Read more National news