King Abdullah II's Vision Propels Jordan's Strategic Water Sector Reforms

King Abdullah II's Vision Propels Jordan's Strategic Water Sector Reforms
Amman - Since assuming his constitutional powers, His Majesty King Abdullah II has consistently directed successive governments to prioritize the water sector, recognizing it as one of the most vital and strategically challenged sectors.اضافة اعلان

Jordan faces significant water challenges due to increasing population growth, hosting refugees, scarce rainfall, depletion of water resources, climate change, and rising water needs across various sectors.

Officials from the Ministry of Water and Irrigation told the Jordan News Agency (Petra) that water security remains a priority for His Majesty King Abdullah II. On numerous occasions, he has urged the utilization of all available resources to find scientific solutions and alternative plans to address the water crisis, ensuring Jordan's water needs are met for decades to come.

Secretary-General of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Jihad Mahamid, highlighted the National Carrier Project as a key strategic initiative under His Majesty's focus. The project includes a major desalination facility in Aqaba and a distribution system for fresh water across the Kingdom.

With an estimated cost of $3 billion, the government, with close royal supervision, is accelerating the project, expected to be operational by 2029, to supply approximately 300 million cubic meters of desalinated water annually.
The project will rely on renewable energy, in line with the National Energy Strategy, which targets 31 percent of electricity generation from renewable sources by 2030.

Assistant Secretary-General for Media Affairs, Omar Salama, said that Jordan faces an annual water deficit of about 400 million cubic meters due to declining water sources. The total available water from all sources is 1,115 million cubic meters, with allocations of approximately 510 million cubic meters for municipal uses, 570 million cubic meters for agricultural and animal uses, and 35 million cubic meters for industrial uses.

Jordan's daily water needs amount to about 3 million cubic meters, while the international water poverty line is set at 500 cubic meters per capita per year. Jordan's current level is 61 cubic meters per year, placing it among the most water-scarce countries globally.

His Majesty inaugurated the Disi water project to supply Amman and other governorates with a sustainable water source, costing $1 billion. This project supports economic and social development by enhancing water security in Jordan.

The Disi project, completed with local and international investment, provides approximately 100 million cubic meters of high-quality drinking water annually, covering the needs of the capital and several other governorates. It represents 20 to 25 percent of the Kingdom’s drinking water requirements.

Since 1999, the ministry has implemented royal directives to achieve water security through strategic projects. These include the Al-Zara Ma’in project with a capacity of 45 million cubic meters, valued at $125 million, launched in 2006; a campaign in 2013 to tighten control over water sources to prevent attacks; and the construction of the first seawater desalination plant in Aqaba in 2017, supplying 5 million cubic meters annually for Aqaba and tourism investments.

A strategy to support the northern governorates (2017-2028) was also launched to address the burdens of the Syrian refugee crisis, costing JD305 million to provide 50 million additional cubic meters of water. This includes Yarmouk water projects worth about JD160 million, and the completion of the Wadi Al-Arab water drainage project in 2020.

Secretary-General of the Jordan Valley Authority, Hisham Haisa, noted the increase in water dams from six in 1999 to sixteen by 2023, with a storage capacity of 288 million cubic meters. Additionally, 410 drilling and earth dams were constructed in recent years, with a storage capacity of 122 million cubic meters. The strategy aims to increase dam storage capacity to 400 million cubic meters by 2025.

The national water vision for 2023-2040 seeks sustainable water security as a foundation for health, prosperity, and growth. Solutions to the water deficit include drilling and rehabilitating new wells, expanding the capacity of the Disi Water Project, wastewater projects, energy efficiency projects, and reducing water losses to 25 percent by 2040 through network improvements valued at $360 million.

Secretary-General of the Water Authority, Wael Duwairi, reported significant expansion in the sanitation sector, with the number of sewage treatment plants increasing from seven in 1999 to thirty-six, treating 235 cubic meters of water and providing 190 million cubic meters suitable for restricted crops. The coverage of sanitation services rose to 66 percent, and a sanitation strategy worth JD930 million was launched to serve new areas and improve environmental conditions.

Water supply for drinking purposes increased from 237.4 million cubic meters in 1999 to about 532 million cubic meters, with water service coverage reaching 95 percent of the population. Water losses decreased from 54 percent in 1999 to 48 percent. Government spending on the water sector over the past two decades has exceeded JD6 billion, he added.

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