WB considers financing project to improve water services’ efficiency

The World Bank indicated in a document that Jordan’s water situation imposes severe restrictions on agriculture and water supply to its cities. (Photo: ShutterStock)
AMMAN — The World Bank (WB) is studying financing a new project aimed at improving the efficiency of water services in Jordan, which is considered one of the most water-scarce countries in the world, Al-Mamlaka TV reported. اضافة اعلان

The bank is scheduled to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the proposed project in October, while the bank's board of directors is expected to approve the project for the Ministry of Water and Irrigation in December of this year.

The bank has not yet determined the value of funding the proposed project, slated to be launched under the name “The water sector efficiency program in Jordan according to results”. The proposed project aims at reducing non-revenue water, enhancing energy efficiency and the management of agricultural water, and improving operational performance.

The WB indicated in a document that Jordan’s water situation imposes severe restrictions on agriculture and water supply to its cities.

According to the document, the absolute water scarcity threshold is 500 cubic meters per capita per year, however, “the available water is well below the absolute water scarcity threshold” with only 97 cubic meters per capita per year.

“More than 92 percent of the land in Jordan has been classified as arid and semi-arid”, which means that it receives less than 200mm of rain annually, the document added. 

Jordan witnessed a growth in its population, both due to the natural population growth and to the influx of refugees, which reduced the amount of water available.

About 1.3 million Syrian refugees lived in Jordan, equivalent to 20 percent of Jordan’s population before the Syrian crisis, according to the document. 

The rapid increase in population has put enormous pressure on public services and infrastructure across the country, particularly electricity and water services, with the bank noting that “as the population is increasingly urban (91 percent in 2019), the use of about half of the water available in Jordan is for municipal water supply (including non-residential uses) and the other half is for agriculture (compared to the global average of 70 percent of water for agriculture), an water scarcity severely constrains agricultural production in the country”. 

The document showed that climate change and population growth will reduce the availability of water resources per capita by 30 percent by 2040, at the same time that these factors will increase the demand for water. 

The National Water Strategy 2016–2025 estimated that water demand “will exceed available water resources by more than 26 percent by 2025”.

 “There is an urgent need for efficient measures and reforms to return the water sector to its sustainable operations and to take advantage of new large-scale investments on the supply side, including the national carrier project for desalination from Aqaba to Amman,” the WB said.   

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