Study urges targeted interventions to mitigate Jordan’s water stress

(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — A new study urged decision makers in Jordan to pursue targeted interventions to alleviate the Kingdom’s water scarcity problem, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.اضافة اعلان

The Economist Impact Analysis, commissioned by UNICEF Jordan, highlighted the need to increase water supply, optimize water use, and create an environment conducive to efficient water investment.

Jordan needs to augment water supply through desalination, improve the water network, enhance wastewater treatment and harvest rainwater, according to the study conducted in collaboration with The Economist magazine.

Muhammad Al-Duwairi, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation’s assistant secretary-general for strategic planning, told a ceremony Wednesday marking the launching of the study that water scarcity not only affects education, the economy and lifestyle, but has a far-reaching impact on the society’s wellbeing.

UNICEF Country Representative Tanya Chapuisat underlined the link between water scarcity and children wellbeing. “Water scarcity is a threat for children and it is a child’s right to have a secure source of water,” she said.

Chapuisat urged stakeholders to make changes in policy and practices to resolve this issue, hoping this report will start a conversation that will lead to change in the society.

The key findings of the study were presented by a representative from The Economist in the form of an info-graphics brochure that was handed to all attendees and is available online.

The magazine’s representative explained the objectives of the study which included educating policy makers and the general public about the impact of water stress. It also sought to model the impact of growing water stress on social and economic outcomes in Jordan.

Lastly, the study aimed to highlight the role and impact of policy and programs in reducing the impact of water stress in Jordan.

The findings articulated the impact of water stress on the agriculture, service and manufacturing sectors in Jordan.

According to the study, agriculture contributes about 5 percent to Jordan’s GDP, but consumes more that 50 percent of the country’s freshwater resources.

The Economist representative said the role of water in manufacturing is less direct than in agriculture but still uses a significant amount of water in production processes. The findings revealed shortages of water and increases in operational costs in the tourism sector during periods of water stress.

The study showed water scarcity as a cause of food insecurity in Jordan. It was reported that food supply adequacy in Jordan has declined from 125 percent in the mid 2000s to just 117 percent, which is among the lowest in the region.

The study pointed that children are more vulnerable to water-related diseases and malnutrition which can impact their development, educational and earning potential.

For young adults, it was reported that absence from work and school due to disease and inadequate WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) facilities limit economic activity and productivity.

Female primary school enrollment rates in the kingdom have dropped to 80 percent as of 2018 and according to the study are predicted to decline more due to water stress by 2030.

Jordan is among the top three recipients of refugees in the region. According to the report, an inflow of migrants and refugees creates an additional demand for water.

The study suggested that political instability could be a future cause of water insecurity in the country. Jordan is a downstream country which obtains 40 percent of its water supply from trans-boundary basins, leaving it heavily dependent on cooperation with its upstream neighbors.

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