USAID Improves Water Security in Jordan

Press Release Shim

Speeches Shim

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Office of Press Relations
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The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in cooperation with the Jordan Ministry of Water and Irrigation, announced its plans to protect the country’s scarce water supply through two new major commitments to Jordan’s water sector.

USAID will rehabilitate the Zara Ma’in Water Supply System, a critical source of drinking water for the population, including residents in Amman. The agency will also help conserve Jordan’s existing water sources through the Nationwide Water Metering and Water Loss Reduction program. The two new efforts will provide and save enough water for millions of Jordanians while also recovering lost revenues associated with under-billing, theft and leakage, which is critical in reducing the Government of Jordan’s national debt.

The signing ceremony was held at the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and attended by His Excellency Engineer Munir Oweis, Minister of Water and Irrigation, and USAID Acting Mission Director, Nancy J. Eslick.

As part of the Zara Ma’in $13.8 million rehabilitation effort, USAID will provide critical upgrades to the deteriorating water system, restoring it to peak performance. Renovation efforts include acquiring and installing new water pumps suited to forcefully propel water from the lowest point on earth – the Dead Sea, where the plant is located – to a higher elevation in Amman, providing much-needed water to the city’s residents. USAID funded the initial Zara Ma’in Water system in 2006. Due to normal wear and tear, the pumps began experiencing a reduction in their efficiency. The repairs will be carried out by Jordanian contractor, JV Gama Engineering, and are scheduled to be completed by fall 2020.

“Jordan is already one of the most water-scarce countries in the world,” said Acting Mission Director, Nancy J. Eslick. “Our investment in keeping this critical water system safe and functioning for the millions who depend on it is just one part of USAID’s broader partnership with Jordan to develop more water resources and build a resilient water sector,” added Eslick. 

To ensure more water is delivered to the people of Jordan that is currently lost in the ground,  USAID is also investing $152.1 million to better detect and repair water leaks, restructure water networks to effectively control pressure, replace outdated water meters with high-accuracy smart meters, and update data collection systems to prevent under-billing. These new improvements are part of a new Nationwide Water Metering and Water Loss Reduction program. The effort expands on USAID’s early successes in pilot areas in Amman where water losses were cut nearly 40 percent mostly as a result of meter replacement, and leak detection and repair.

“It’s no question the water sector is suffering as a result of Jordan’s severe water losses,” said Eslick. “Our investment is critical in fixing holes in the water network which helps Jordan save the water it already has and add it back to the country’s supply,” added Eslick.

Currently, about half of all Jordan’s water is lost to non-revenue water (water that is lost through leakage, theft or under-billing to the customer). Jordan is losing approximately half a billion dollars in water losses per year which contributes to the country’s growing national debt. In addition, given Jordan’s water scarcity, the country cannot afford to waste a drop.

Both USAID projects ensure a water-secure future for all Jordanians while supporting the Government of Jordan’s National Water Strategy 2016-2025, which aims to meet the national growing water demand and reduce non-revenue water from 50 percent to 25 percent nationally by year 2025.

Projects like Zara Ma’in and Nationwide Water Metering and Water Loss Reduction continue a history of U.S.-Jordanian cooperation in the water sector that includes constructing 27 of Jordan’s most critical water supply facilities and networks and eight wastewater treatment facilities.