Managing water resources in Jordan

Project description

Title: Management of Water Resources Programme
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Jordan
Lead executing agency: Jordan Ministry of Water and Irrigation
Overall term: 2006 to 2018

Jordan. The Wadi Mujib Nature Reserve east of the Dead Sea. © GIZ

Context

With only 60 cubic metres of renewable water resources available annually per capita, Jordan is among the most water-scarce nations in the world. The country is already confronting the effects of climate change and its resources are expected to diminish even further. At the same time, Jordan’s population is continuing to increase and the country has received more than 666,000 refugees since the beginning of the crisis in Syria. Factors such as these have resulted in the systematic overuse of its water resources for many years. Today the nation’s capital, Amman, relies for its water supply on groundwater resources drawn from the Disi fossil water aquifer, located some 300 kilometres to the south at the border with Saudi Arabia. If the nature and the extent of water usage are not reversed soon, the water security of Jordan’s population will be at serious risk.

Objective

Jordan’s national water institutions are enabled to better respond to mounting pressure on its limited water resources.

Approach

The Management of Water Resources Programme provides Jordan's water institutions with strategic, technical and expert support:

  • It is promoting the development of the country's strategic national framework and policy guidelines, which together provide a basis for overcoming the water crisis and contributing to sustainable water usage.
  • To improve planning capacities within the water sector, the project is piloting an approach for water resources planning. Through the assistance of a computer-based water balance model, various parameters such as available water resources and population growth can be used to calculate middle and long-term water demand and identify a fair allocation of resources. Concurrently, the model makes it possible to plan for infrastructure requirements.
  • As the majority of Jordan’s water resources continue to be used for agricultural irrigation, the project promotes efficient irrigation management through the establishment of water user associations and the dissemination of efficient irrigation technologies.
  • The project supports the water sector in important governance reforms aiming at a strengthening regulation and performance monitoring as well as the participation of private actors in water supply and waste water management.

The project’s cooperation partners are KfW Development Bank and the German and Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR).

Results

The Ministry of Water and Irrigation in Jordan has considerably improved its management abilities as a result of strategic advice and support on water framework planning.

Today, water utilities have come to operate as decentralised, semi-autonomous companies in six of the country’s governorates. This has led to the improvement in the quality and quantity of water provided to roughly six million people. Private sector involvement has enhanced the financial situation of the water utilities along with the service they provide to their consumers, especially among governorates in the centre of the country.

Additionally, water user associations have been established in the Jordan Valley, through which participating farmers ensure the efficient distribution of water resources accounting for over half of the region’s total agricultural area. This participatory approach has not only strengthened involvement, it has also led to a more reliable distribution of water as well as to increased agricultural yields.

Finally, a water resource modelling unit has been established and trained in the Ministry of Water and Irrigation which regularly develops future scenarios of the development of water resources which are used for strategic decision making and planning.

Jordan. Tomato harvests at a greenhouse in the Jordan Valley. Photograph: Thomas Imo/photothek.net / © GIZ