Mafraq faces water shortages as groundwater levels fall

Official says drop is due to new wells drilled on Syrian side

(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The director of the Mafraq Governorate Water Department, Basil Basbous, said on Tuesday that the delivery of water to citizens’ homes depends largely on groundwater wells, noting that the groundwater level has recently fallen to nearly 500 meters in some areas of the governorate due to drilling of wells on the Syrian side, Al-Mamlaka TV reported.اضافة اعلان

Speaking at a dialogue session held by the West Asia and North Africa Institute, which is conducting a study in urban areas hosting Syrian refugees, Basbous said that that the percentage of rainwater utilization ranges between 2–5 percent only.

He indicated that the Yarmouk Water Department had 35,000 subscribers before the Syria crisis, while it now stands at 55,000 as a result of hosting Syrian refugees. This number, he said, is very large in relation to the water availability.

He added that the governorate faces a major challenge, represented by the old water and sewage networks, stressing the need to have this infrastructure changed.

Dean of the Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Al al-Bayt University Sanaa Al-Zayoud said that one of the solutions to the water problem in Mafraq is to have national institutions enter partnerships to raise awareness about the importance of water harvesting and exploiting rainwater, even if it is scarce.

Zayoud also said that the sewage and water networks must be changed, to reduce water losses.

Reem Haddadin, a researcher in the field of sustainable development at the Royal Scientific Society, explained that the aim of the research project carried out by the West Asia and North Africa Institute in cooperation with the Royal Scientific Society, the University of Science and Technology, and University College London is to identify the gaps and problems the water and sanitation sector faces in camps and among host communities.

Haddadin said that the study will focus on the King Abdullah suburb of Mafraq, which is expected to host a high percentage of Syrian refugees, and the Zaatari camp.

The study relies on several tools, including a survey, a qualitative field study, focused discussion sessions, and specific interviews, and cooperation with international partners will help provide support and assistance to solve the problem.

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