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Second Water Energy Nexus held to discuss challenges

Bisher Khasawneh
(Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN —The second National Water and Energy Nexus conference kicked off on Wednesday at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre, under the patronage of the Prime Minister, Bisher Al-Khasawneh.اضافة اعلان

Hala Zawati, the Minister for Energy and Resources, deputizing for the prime minister, underlined the importance of cooperation between the water and energy sectors for food security, and the sustainable development of Jordan.

Zawati emphasized the importance of the implementation of joint energy-water projects such as the Aqaba-Amman Desalination and Water Transfer Project, in addition to pumping and storage projects that benefit both sectors. 

The minister said that the United Nations expected a 40 percent shortfall in water supply by 2030, noting that the agricultural sector consumes 70 percent of water, followed by the energy sector. She said that such challenges require everyone to work hand in hand to search for innovative solutions, such as seawater desalination, or to reuse the water obtained during crude oil extraction. 

Zawati also said that Jordan is looking forward to expand water storage in dams, explaining that Jordan currently imports 88 percent of the energy it uses. 

From his side, the conference coordinator, Ahmed Al-Salaymeh, a professor in renewable energy at the University of Jordan, said that the conference is a response to emerging needs, opportunities, and challenges in the field of water and energy. 

Salaymeh said that the conference aims to stimulate dialogue between the energy and water sectors in Jordan and to transfer best practices and experiences from Europe to Jordan as well as to the wider region. 

The Chargé d’Affairs of the German Embassy to Jordan, Florian Reindel, who attended the conference, underlined the long-term and reliable cooperation between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the water sector, and the importance of the German/Jordanian Energy Partnership. 

Reindel highlighted the challenges facing the Jordanian water sector, in particular the lack of sufficient water resources and the urgent need to adapt to climate change. 

He pointed to the importance of the planned new Aqaba-Amman Desalination and Water Transfer Project, adding that it is a necessary and important step towards economic stability and water security. 

From his side, Jehad Al Mahameed, secretary general of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, said in remarks to Jordan News at the conference, that the “water transfer project, does not fully correspond to the high aspirations, however it is a strategic solution.” 

Mahameed said of the water transfer project that “such a project shall bridge the gap between what we need and what we lack. There will also be smaller projects along with it but it will remain the largest project that we are most proud of.” 

As for the financial support for the project, he said that “part of it will be grants, in addition to a long-term loan, and part will be from the general budget too.”

On a side note, and after some environmental associations denounced the cutting of around 172 trees in a forest to implement a solar energy project that is part of the Renewable Energy Project, Hanna Zaghloul, board secretary of EDAMA environmental association, said in remarks to Jordan News that “renewable energy projects are eco-friendly and should contribute to protecting the environment and not demolishing it.” 

“The government should rent some land, it could be in a desert far away from any trees, to implement these projects,” Zaghloul said.

The conference was organized by the University of Jordan, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation’s Water Authority and the Jordanian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources.

It was held with the support of the Renewable Energy Project in the Water Sector, implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The Renewable Energy Project includes workshops for local, regional and European experts, as well as for local representatives from academia, industry, civil society, public authorities and research centres, in order to explore and discuss opportunities and strengths related to hydropower.

In attendance at the conference was the Ambassador of the European Union, Maria Hadjitheodosiou, the Charge d’affaires of the German Embassy to Jordan and President of the University of Jordan Natheer Obeidat, among others. 

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