Avoiding Conflicts over Water

Project description

Title: Supporting Participatory Resource Management to Stabilise the Situation in Host Communities
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Special Initiative "Tackling the root causes of displacement – reintegrating refugees"
Country: Jordan
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MWI)
Overall term: 2015 to 2020

Conflics over Water_Stakeholder photo

Context

By mid-June 2018 Jordan, Syria’s southern neighbor, had officially registered over 666,500 Syrian refugees More than 80 per cent of them are living outside official refugee camps. Host communities have to provide the necessary infrastructure for refugees which often creates almost insurmountable challenges. Providing an adequate supply of clean water, in particular, pushes many communities to their limits. Jordan is one of the most arid countries in the world. Its water supply system is outdated, poorly maintained and not fit for purpose in many places. In some locations, up to 70 per cent of water is being lost as a result. The resulting shortages were already a challenge for municipalities when the system only had to supply Jordanian households. The arrival of refugees has substantially increased the number of consumers, and this is placing impossible burdens on municipalities. The already scarce supply of water now has to meet the needs of both the local Jordanian population and refugees, bringing a risk of further conflict in the communities affected.

Objective

The availability of clean water in six of the host communities is improved.

Approach

A particularly high number of Syrian refugees live alongside the local population in northern Jordan, near the Syrian border. The project “Supporting Participatory Resource Management to Stabilize the Situation in Host Communities (PRM)” is being implemented in six host communities on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to ensure that more than 39,000 residents – among them 5,000 refugees – have adequate access to water. By implementing interventions at different levels, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is ensuring that dilapidated water networks are repaired, and modern water storage systems as well as barrier-free entrances to water facilities are installed in private households and public institutions. In addition, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) contributes to the project implementation in one of the communities (Bait Ras) as well as contributes to the implementation of measures in Jerash camp aiming to improve water management at the household level. 

Moreover, residents of the six host communities have an opportunity to become involved in their own long-term water supply through the establishment of participatory exchange platforms. Local community members, including Syrian refugees, are taking part in regular multi-stakeholder meetings with the responsible water sector institutions to discuss water-related issues and the future construction measures needed. Thus, representatives of all societal groups are playing a pivotal role in ensuring that water is distributed equitably across communities and in alleviating conflicts over this scarce resource. Based on the success of the participatory approach, it is foreseen to anchor a participatory resource management concept at the responsible water provider.

The project is part of the BMZ special initiative ‘Tackling the Root Causes of Displacement, Reintegrating Refugees’ which provides short-term support to refugees and their host communities. In the long term, sustainable measures are designed to eliminate the structural causes of displacement, such as social inequality and lack of prospects. 

Overall, the PRM project helps to ensure water availability as well as contributes to increased water security and improved living conditions of both Jordanians and Syrian refugees. Moreover, it promotes social cohesion, health and sustainable development.

Impacts

Repairs to water networks would almost halve water losses in the communities concerned, cutting them from over 40 per cent to 30 per cent. This is saving local communities around 333,000 cubic meters of water a year, which is the equivalent to approximately 783,000 Euros. This amount secures the daily water needs for 9,500 people. Moreover, 2,990 modern water tanks are being installed on roofs as well as around 2,800 water saving devices are provided to vulnerable households. In addition, barrier-free entrances, including ramps, wheelchairs and wheel toilet chairs are installed in over 160 households and 36 public institutions to ensure water access for everyone.  

The project is also supporting more than 50 employees of the responsible water utility through capacity development trainings which strengthen their capacities to improve supply to local communities, to plan supply networks and to minimise water losses. In all project measures, special consideration is given to those with special needs, such as children and people with disabilities.