Cash for Work: Protection of Water Dams in Jordan

Project description

Title: Protection of Water Dams in Jordan through Labour-intensive Activities (Cash for Work)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Jordan
Lead Executing Agency: Jordan Valley Authority​​​​​​​
Overall term: 2017 to 2026

Cash Workers working on plantation in the catchment area of King Talal Dam.


Jordan is one of the world’s most arid countries. Population and economic growth as well as a high number of refugees are increasing the pressure on its water resources. In addition, there are high levels of unemployment in communities that have taken in large numbers of refugees.

At the same time, the King Talal, Mujib, Wala, Zeglab, Kofranja, Wadi Arab, Karak, Zarqa Ma’een and Alwehedi dams are silting up due to soil erosion. As a result of sand and other sediments depositing in the reservoirs, they are not able to store as much water. This silting up endangers the water supply for agriculture in the long term.


Labour-intensive measures preserve the storage capacities of the dams and reduce erosion in the dam catchment areas. The short-term employment opportunities improve living conditions in host communities.


The project is part of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) special initiative ‘Tackling the root causes of displacement, stabilising host regions, supporting refugees’. It creates short-term  employment opportunities (‘Cash for Work’) for vulnerable Jordanian families and Syrian refugees. It works in three fields of action:

  1. The project takes measures to prevent soil erosion. This includes afforestation and constructing check dams as well as terraces, gabion walls, rip rap and dry-stone walls in the catchment area of the dams.
  2. The workers preserve cultural heritage sites and rehabilitate relevant antique water infrastructure.
  3. A project support unit is established in the Jordanian Ministry of Labour to ensure a more efficient implementation of all BMZ-funded Cash for Work projects in Jordan.

In total, these activities provided short-term jobs for more than 13,000 individuals for at least 40 days, 21 per cent of whom were women. The project also provides labour market services to promote medium-term and long-term employment prospects. To mitigate the negative consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, the project also provided 1,125 households with Cash Transfer Assistance.

Last update: September 2022

Additional information