Jordan’s Households Save Water and Traditions

Speeches Shim

Mafraq, Jordan, water conservation, MercyCorps, #HumanityActs
At just 15 years old, Hassan Dahdal is the family expert on the new household water system.
Water scarcity remedied with recycled “greywater”
“Our olive trees were drying up and livestock suffering from lack of water. With the new systems in place, our trees and animals are flourishing.”

June 2016—Household cultivation holds a place at the very heart of Jordanian customs and traditions. Visit your everyday Jordanian homestead and chances are you will come across the family olive tree, garden or orchard.

The Dahdal family is no exception. In Mafraq’s Um Al Quttain, the Dahdals work together to grow fruit and olive trees in addition to raising livestock. In recent years, however, a dwindling water supply put all this at risk as the family grove began to wither.

"Our olive trees were drying up and livestock suffering from lack of water,” recalls 15-year-old Hassan Dahdal. “Our water bills were also very high because we had to use fresh water to irrigate the crops and had no means to manage wastewater.”

Stories like these are widespread in Jordan, with unprecedented strain on the water supply impacting thousands of families like the Dahdals. In response to the situation, which has worsened due to the Syrian refugee crisis, USAID and Mercy Corps have partnered with communities throughout northern Jordan to develop solutions at the grassroots level.

In Um Al Quttain, loans were provided to families in 2008 to install small household water projects for reducing water and energy use. Eager to preserve the family tradition, the Dahdals were one of the first families to sign up, installing drip irrigation and a system for recycling water from sinks, showers and washing machines—also known as “greywater.”

As the eldest son, Hassan is in charge of the new water system, making sure the equipment is functioning and the plants are getting the water they need. The newest green thumb in the family, Hassan has taken pride in his newfound responsibility and expertise.

“My teacher gave me the opportunity to share my experience with my friends at school,” says Hassan, who was 7 when his family received the loan. “I have shown them how greywater from sinks is recycled and used for our livestock and irrigating the crops.”

Thanks to the new tools at their disposal, the Dahdal family has restored their farm to its previous state. “With the new systems in place, our trees and animals are flourishing,” Hassan proudly reports.

The Dahdal family is one of 135 families in Um Al Quttain that received loans through the USAID and Mercy Corps initiative to support grassroots solutions to Jordan’s water scarcity, benefiting over 700 villagers.

The program, Community-Based Initiatives for Water Demand Management (CBIWDM), ran from May 2006 through December 2015. The project aimed to reduce the social and economic impact of water scarcity in communities throughout Jordan by reducing water losses and increasing water-use efficiency as well as community involvement in demand management.


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