Decentralised wastewater management as a measure for climate change adaptation

Project description

Title: Decentralised wastewater management as a measure for climate change adaptation in Jordan
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Jordan
Lead executing agency: Jordanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MWI)
Overall term: 2014 to 2019

Jordan. Visiting a decentralised sewage treatment plant. © GIZ

Jordan ranks among the world’s most water-poor countries, while at the same time the limited water resources are being heavily overexploited. The imbalance between water needs and water availability is exacerbated by inefficient and uncontrolled resource use as well as decreasing water quality. In addition, in the future Jordan will be particularly severely affected by the impacts of climate change. According to estimates by the Arab Water Council, by the year 2100 the renewable water resources in nearly all Arab countries will drop by half as a result of climate change.

Currently, only around 62 per cent of households are connected to a sewage system. There is therefore significant, untapped potential for off-grid decentralised wastewater management.

The Ministry of Water and Irrigation is familiar with various operator models for decentralised wastewater treatment facilities, works with the Water Authority of Jordan to incorporate decentralised wastewater management into national framework plans, and conducts decentralised sanitation measures for climate change adaptation.

Jordan. GIZ training course on decentralised wastewater management. © GIZ
On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the project is providing support to the partner organisations in relation to decentralised wastewater management, and promoting efficient use of the available water resources. The project is based in northern Jordan – the region in which most of the refugees from Syria are living. The wastewater infrastructure in this area is not designed for the large number of refugees. Nearly half of the water within the network is lost due to a lack of maintenance, leaks and poor management. A sewage system is not available, and both the general public and industrial facilities (olive presses, food industry) dispose of their wastewater in leaky cesspits. Experts assume that the groundwater resources are heavily contaminated with pollutants hazardous to human health.

A model for operating a decentralised sewage treatment plant for domestic and industrial wastewater is being developed and implemented at a pilot site in cooperation with the Jordanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation, the Water Authority of Jordan, municipalities and industry. Methods for reusing the treated wastewater for agriculture, urban parks, and industrial recycling processes are being communicated to relevant actors and tested.

In addition, the project is supporting the creation of a municipal wastewater system. An integrated expert is assisting the Water Authority of Jordan with project planning, issuing tenders, awarding contracts, monitoring construction, and maintaining the wastewater system.

The project is conducting a feasibility study on the formation of a development partnership with the private sector, and advising treatment plant operators on financing, technology transfer and the construction of decentralised sewage treatment plants. As soon as the decentralised sewage treatment plant is completed, a development worker will provide support to the operator with technical, economic and organisational issues, as well as with conducting training activities.

The project is also helping to develop the capacities of specialists and managers at Jordanian universities. It plans to organise summer schools on applied wastewater technology in cooperation with German and Jordanian universities, as well as study trips to Germany. Jordanian scientists, lecturers, local municipal staff and representatives of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the Water Authority of Jordan will participate in these training activities.
Jordan. Visiting a plant where treated wastewater is recycled. © GIZ