Personally, I do not plan to show understanding

Makram Tarawneh
Makram Ahmad Al-Tarawneh (Photo: JNews)
“We call on Jordanians to show understanding.” That was the plea by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation calling on citizens to survive a summer during which their thirst would not be quenched. Citizens will have to suffer the consequences of water mismanagement, which is, in turn, the result of failure in the implementation of dozens of strategies and alternative plans. Add to that the water theft the sector has suffered (88,000 cases of public water theft have been reported since 2013), let alone the illegally dug wells and inefficient legislation. اضافة اعلان

Poor Jordanians! They must always bear the burden and pay the price for officials’ inefficiency, insincerity, or inability to resolve situations and to overcome the challenges. So, citizens have to believe everything they are told about plans and strategies that have been mere ink on paper, or an anesthetic to buy time.

Why is it the citizens who have to survive a summer with a poor water supply? Where is the water minister who threatens to deny any news report on the issue, even before he sees the story? What were his predecessors doing? Where are the millions that have been paid in salaries to these ministers, their travels, plans, and advisers, funds originally paid by taxpayer?

Why should the average citizen be the victim of the mismanagement of different institutions? Take the energy file, for example. We are experiencing unmatched frustration, listening to official remarks that take us above the clouds, while in reality, the situation is getting worse and worse every day. The same applies to several dreamlike projects that are depleting the Treasury, and the result is the same: only a mirage in the desert.

Why is it citizens who have to pay the price of every mistake, at a time of high unemployment rates, poverty, economic hardship, and a pandemic that has further complicated their lives after the macroeconomic situation deteriorated? There has not been a single official held accountable, even for a small part of this situation.

I remember when the Ministry of Water announced, in 2015, that it had made vigorous efforts to reduce water loss, and identified three stages by the end of which the average water loss would be taken down to 26 percent in all water areas (currently estimated at 46 percent). There was a plan for a subsequent evaluation of all projects related to water loss, especially in light the attacks on water networks and lines. These projects included the rehabilitation of old water networks, laying new networks and establishing pumping stations. They also involved purchasing lab equipment, pressure management, leak detection, and monitoring systems, in addition to the replacement of damaged meters.

All of this did not yield any tangible improvement in efforts to reduce water loss. What was the solution? The government resorted to a clear master plan to reduce waste! This was announced at the time.

The water sector strategy for the years 2016–2025 also entailed a water waste program, designed in light of the huge challenges facing the water sector, foremost of which is water loss, or, as termed internationally, “non-revenue water”.

The Ministry of Water is also drafting a long-term action plan that covers the period ending in 2040, based on scientific data and careful monitoring to “come up with a clear vision and goals for the advancement of the water sector.” The ministry says that it is keeping an eye on the various challenges facing the water sector in the second-poorest water country in the world, within a specific framework, whose components are part of an integrated water management scheme, which covers the Disi Water Conveyance Project.

Moreover, no laws or bylaws have been amended over the past years, a fact which delays the process of regulating irrigated agriculture. Add to that geopolitical factors that have hindered the efficient enforcement of relevant laws and regulations in a country that takes 60 percent of its water needs from 12 aquifers.

These hope-loaded strategies are what we hear from the water ministry, and after that, it asks us to show understanding of its failure and fake achievements and endure a summer where we will struggle to find enough water to bathe, drink, or water plants. For me personally, I do not plan to show understanding of what the water ministry has been talking about.

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