Recycled wastewater provides window for Jordan to address water scarcity — UN

water treatment
An undated photo of a wastewater treatment plant in Mafraq Governorate. (File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — As the climate heats up, affecting Jordan’s already exhausted water resources, expanding wastewater treatment provides one opportunity to increase water availability for irrigation that consumes about one half of the country’s total water supply, the UN said in a press statement on Monday.اضافة اعلان

Jordan is the second-most water scarce country in the world, with its annual renewable water resources less than 100 cubic meters per person, significantly below the global threshold of severe water scarcity of 500 cubic meters per person.

Climate change, among other challenges is projected to stress Jordan’s limited water resources, negatively impacting the county’s agriculture, with  rural poor women and girls the most likely to bear the brunt of these impacts.

In a policy brief titled “Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Systems (DWATS) as a Climate Change Adaptation Option for Agriculture in Jordan”, the UN said, in Jordan has put forward the use of non-conventional water resources as an adaptation option, with the expansion of decentralized wastewater treatment as one of the country’s goals in its 2008–2022 Water Strategy.

Jordan already operates 34 wastewater treatment plants that provide 14 percent of total water supply, and treated wastewater reused in agriculture accounts for about 25 percent of the total amount of water used for irrigation.

However, despite tackling this non-conventional water resource in Jordan’s policies, there are several challenges that hinder the full achievement of this goal.
Jordan already operates 34 wastewater treatment plants that provide 14 percent of total water supply. ...

These challenges include the weak coordination between several government institutions with overlying responsibilities, as well as the lack of institutional and staff capacity. Moreover, the price of treated wastewater for irrigation is set administratively and may not reflect true cost of operation, while the DWATS in small Jordanian communities is disadvantaged as an option by scattered populations, small size, inability to afford DWATS tariffs, and the lack of social acceptance for wastewater reuse.

The brief launched today is the third of a series of policy briefs that aim to inform decision making and ensure synergy with other national and international frameworks. The release of the policy brief coincides with the World Water Day (WWD) annually observed on 22 March.

This year’s WWD is observed under the theme Groundwater: making the invisible visible.

To galvanize action on water for sustainable development, the UN will host a water conference next year. The conference will be preceded by regional and global preparatory meetings and informed by existing water-related meetings at the regional and global level.

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