Decentralised wastewater management as a measure for climate change adaptation
Title: Decentralised wastewater management as a measure for climate change adaptation in Jordan
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Jordan
Overall term: 2014 to 2020
Jordan ranks among the world’s most water-poor countries. Strong population growth, economic development and regional migration – especially since 2011 as a result of the Syrian refugee crisis – are putting increasing pressure on water resources. At the same time, Jordan is one of the countries in the Middle East most affected by climate change. The available water resources therefore have to be used as efficiently as possible: one possibility is to reuse treated wastewater in accordance with relevant quality guidelines.
Currently, only around two thirds of households are connected to a sewage system. There is therefore significant potential for off-grid wastewater management. Decentralised solutions can be used to locally treat and reuse the wastewater of households not connected to the sewage system. However, Jordanian actors still lack the knowledge and skills needed to do so.
Actors in the water sector incorporate integrated strategies for decentralised wastewater management into national framework plans. They implement appropriate measures and are familiar with operator models for decentralised wastewater management.
The project is helping the Jordanian partner organisations to develop and implement strategies for decentralised wastewater management and the efficient use of available water resources. The project focuses on climate change adaptation, reuse of treated wastewater, adjustment of national limits for small sewage treatment plants as well as the development of suitable operator models. The German non-governmental organisation BORDA Worldwide is helping to carry out various activities as the cooperation partner.
The project supports the Ministry of Water and Irrigation as well as the Water Authority of Jordan in developing concepts for decentralised wastewater management, integrating these concepts into the national water strategy and implementing them using an action plan.
One of the regions where the project operates is northern Jordan – where most of the refugees from Syria live. The project is building a plant for decentralised wastewater treatment and reuse to demonstrate efficient wastewater management. In addition, the project is testing an innovative method for the treatment of sewage sludge. To ensure long-term viability, the plant operator is being trained in operation and maintenance.
In a biosphere reserve in the south of the country, an integrated concept for decentralised treatment and reuse of the wastewater from an ecolodge is being implemented. Here, too, the semi-public lodge owner and the private operator are being trained in operation and maintenance.
All pilot projects showcase adapted technologies for decentralised wastewater management as well as for environmentally-friendly and low-maintenance treatment of sewage sludge. They thus pave the way for the broad-based introduction of innovative management models.
In addition to the pilot activities, the project carries out various measures to enhance the expertise, skills and performance of the actors to improve the Jordanian wastewater sector, including summer schools, e-learning courses and workshops.
Two small sewage treatment plants and an innovative sewage sludge treatment system have been planned to date. Construction work will begin soon.
The project used various training offers, workshops and conferences to familiarise the Jordanian actors with issues such as how to create favourable overall conditions for decentralised wastewater management. Training requirements were analysed in advance.
Strategy papers were created for adaptation to climate change through decentralised wastewater management. In addition, the project has supported the development of a national strategy for decentralised wastewater management and a corresponding action plan.