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Partnering with private sector important in addressing water problems

(Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — The first meeting of the National Economic Workshop, bringing together water experts, academics, sector representatives and officials, convened on Saturday at the Royal Hashemite Court.اضافة اعلان

The water sector workshop, attended by Water Minister Mohammad Najjar, discussed the most prominent challenges the sector is going through, as well as some solutions proposed to develop more water sources.

According to the experts who spoke to Jordan News, the goals of a new strategy, which will be implemented by the end of the workshop, are to increase job opportunities and improve the government response to citizen expectations.

Chairman of EDAMA’s Board of Directors Dureid Mahasneh told Jordan News that water is a vital element that must be judiciously utilized to ensure the continuity of life and its sustainability, especially in light of the climate change and its potential negative impact on Jordan and the world.

Mahasneh added that “we need clean water for drinking and consumption, and we must also realize that water is an important economic element for the industrial, tourism and other sectors, and not limited to agricultural use”.

He added that “the agricultural sector is a drain on water, we do not have a variety of water sources, and this is certainly a real problem that must be taken into consideration and solved”.

He also said that “we are working through this workshop to find solutions for desalinating water at reasonable prices by also opening the way for the private sector to participate, so that the project is implemented with Jordanian capital. Finding new investments would also provide job opportunities”.

“I hope that we will come out, through this workshop, with good results and recommendations that we can use to provide water in regions of the Kingdom other than Amman, and to save pumping costs. We are still in the first week of the workshop and we still have many suggestions and discussions,” he said.

Water Expert Suzan Kilani told Jordan News that the most prominent challenges that are discussed at the workshop are the unsustainable use of water, poor water management, the loss of main natural water sources, as well as climate change and groundwater depletion.

She added that the discussion covered some other important issues, such as raising the per capita share of water, reducing the water deficit, introducing technology with the aim of saving water, and activating and accelerating the completion of projects.

Kilani said that partnering with the private sector is necessary, as is the need to diversify water sources, which would contribute to addressing the most prominent challenges.

Muna Hendieh, yet another water expert, told Jordan News that participants in the workshop “discussed success stories related to the water sector in Jordan, to emphasize the idea that just as there are challenges and difficulties, there are also success stories that we should be proud of”.

An example of these success stories, she said, is the sewage infrastructure, which is “excellent”, and the “more than 33 water purification plants that have maintained the health of citizens over the past years”.

Speaking about challenges, Hendieh said that one of the biggest is the lack of staff working in the water field in the public sector, and that those working “need training in order to benefit from their expertise in building projects”.

She added that “we still suffer from water shortage and lack of sources, and this has been exacerbated by the presence of refugees in Jordan”.

The quality of water in Jordan “is one of the best among the neighboring countries”, she said, but “only 68 percent of the population is served by sewage networks”.

“We look forward to partnering with Arab countries,” she said, adding that “some neighboring countries, for example, lack energy, so we provide them with energy in exchange for water, in addition to partnering with the private sector in order to fund mega projects for self-reliance on water sources.”

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