Ministry of Water plans gradual increase in water tariffs

Ministry of Water and Irrigation
(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The Ministry of Water and Irrigation announced on Wednesday that water tariffs will be gradually increased in the coming years to cover operational costs. اضافة اعلان

Secretary-General of the Ministry of Water Jihad Mahameed confirmed that citizens currently pay around 87 cents per cubic meter of water, while the government incurs costs of around JD2.40, indicating the government's significant support for the water sector, according to Al-Mamlaka TV.

The National Water Strategy launched by the ministry this month prioritizes reforms to the water sector, including gradually raising water prices to cover operational costs, he said.

The Executive Program of the Economic Modernization Vision 2023 has also shown progress in proposing a revision of water tariffs and conducting a financial study on the amendment within the financial sustainability plan to be discussed among relevant ministers.

The program has further revealed that the government plans to approve a tariff adjustment for water in September of this year.

Reforms to address water scarcityJordan is ranked second globally in terms of the scarcity of traditional water sources.

Mahameed explained that natural and human causes, agricultural and industrial investments, have increased the gap between water supply and demand. He pointed out that most of Jordan's areas receive less than 200mm of rain, making the Kingdom suffer from water scarcity.

Climate change, he added, has affected the rainfall rate and temporal distribution of rain, negatively impacting the storage of dams in Jordan.

The Executive Program of Economic Modernization in the water sector prioritizes implementing water distribution networks, water sourcing and transportation, preparing a financial sustainability plan for the sector, and implementing a strategy to reduce water loss by 2 percent annually.

He said that energy is one of the challenges facing the water sector in Jordan due to the cost of transporting and operating water, pointing to shared water basins with neighboring countries "where Jordan has not reached an agreement to fully take its rights from these sources".

Concerning the energy-for-water project involving Jordan, the UAE, and Israel, Mahameed stated that the project is undergoing economic feasibility studies, expressing optimism that it will benefit Jordan.

He explained that most water projects are costly, which has affected the sustainability or search for non-traditional water sources, as the Ministry of Water is doing through the National Carrier, which will provide around 300 million cubic meters of water to all governorates.

Reducing water lossThe per capita share of water in Jordan is less than 70 cubic meters per year, while the global ratio or extreme poverty is around 500 cubic meters annually, according to Mahameed.

Therefore, the National Water Strategy focuses on collaboration between the water, agriculture, and energy sectors and introducing modern technology, especially in irrigation, to reduce water usage or increase water efficiency in agriculture.

The strategy aims to reduce water loss by 2 percent annually to reach global figures ranging between 20–25 percent by 2040. It will also ensure the financial sustainability of the water sector by reducing the gap between available financial resources and what the government spends and supports in the water sector.

Water attacksSince 2014, the number of attacks on water sources has surpassed 70,000, according to Mahameed, who added that more than 1,300 illegal wells were filled.

In response, the Ministry of Water initiated a campaign to curb these attacks and amended Water Authority Law No. 18, raising the maximum penalty to five years in prison and a fine of over JD10,000.

Mahameed acknowledged that the issue is not with the law, but with the implementation of penalties by the judiciary, hindering the process of reducing attacks. However, he also noted a significant decrease in illegal wells and attacks annually, with the current rainy season outperforming the previous one.

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