Jordan - Wastewater recycling

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See the Video
(Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNAS_bfvW3s)
The Virtuous Circle

Water scarcity in Jordan is becoming a real problem, and experts say that reusing water is a key to survival. A USAID project is helping to demonstrate how reclaimed water can be successfully used for industry, agriculture, and landscaping. In Wadi Musa, the project is also helping local farmers escape from poverty.

Most of the land in Jordan is dry. While the average US citizen has more than 9,000 cubic metres of fresh water available per year, Jordanians have less than 200 – a 45-fold difference. In rural areas, particularly in poor communities, the problem is critical. One tribal leader said recently, “There are families that cannot find their daily food…they are starving …we have never faced this situation before”.


Experts say that reusing water in Jordan is not an option but a key to survival. Nonetheless, some locals are hesitant to reuse water, rejecting the idea that wastewater can be cleaned and sprinkled on high-value crops and vegetation. To help counter these notions a $6.9 million project was funded by USAID to demonstrate how to ‘reclaim’ water successfully for industrial and agricultural use, as well as for landscaping.

Context

The USAID Wastewater recycling project in Jordan.

Focus Areas

Geographic Scope

Stakeholders

A USAID project, implemented by the US engineering firm Camp Dresser and McKee.

Contacts

Amal DABABSEH - Environment Specialist, UNDP Jordan

Helena NABER - Environment Analyst, UNDP Jordan



Contents

Background and Significance

The majority of land in Jordan is dry, and water scarcity is becoming a real problem. Experts say that reusing water is a key to survival.


Goal and Objectives

The USAID project aims to demonstrate how reclaimed water can be successfully used for industry, agriculture, and landscaping. In Wadi Musa, the project is also helping local farmers escape from poverty.


The Experience: Challenges and Solutions

WHAT

A $6.9 million project was funded by USAID to demonstrate how to ‘reclaim’ water successfully for industrial and agricultural use, as well as for landscaping.


WHO

USAID funded, but implemented by US engineering firm Camp Dresser and McKee.


WHERE

Jordan


WHEN

Wasi Musa Site
Wasi Musa Site

HOW

The agricultural component of the project has focused on developing wastewater reuse sites in Wadi Musa, Aqaba and Irbid. The landscape component has established sites in Amman and Aqaba to promote the use of treated wastewater for irrigation of urban landscaping. The industrial component has encouraged companies to conserve resources and reduce pollution. In addition, a number of public awareness campaigns have been launched to make Jordanians more comfortable with the idea of reusing treated wastewater.

Results and Impact

With water scarcity becoming an increasingly serious problem in Jordan, this USAID project aims to demonstrate how reclaimed water can be successfully used for industry, agriculture, and landscaping. In Wadi Musa, the project is also helping local farmers escape from poverty.

Lessons for Replication

Not surprisingly, the project has faced many challenges. Filters got clogged faster than expected, and community members and local officials were suspicious of the project objectives. But the filters were fixed, and the preconceptions were broken down through face-face discussions that built trust. Now the project is being replicated throughout the country. According to Hijazi, the project’s success has made it, “a showcase not only for Jordan but for countries throughout the Arab region”.

Main Results

Treated Water Collection POint
Treated Water Collection POint
  • The project has succeeded in getting farmers to use less fresh groundwater.
“We were very hesitant to use this water at first”, says Abdullah, a local farmer in Wadi Musa. “It was not until the experts explained the process and showed us the results that we felt comfortable to feed our animals and consume the fruit. Now we find it normal and natural”.
  • In Wadi Musa, farms now grow field crops such as alfalfa, maize, sunflowers and Sudan grass, tree crops including pistachio, almond, olives, date palms, lemons, poplars, spruce and junipers, and many varieties of ornamental flowers including iris, geraniums, petunias and daisies.
  • The project demonstrated that the yield of maize can grow by approximately 25 per cent over that of maize grown with fresh water, and the yield of sunflowers can rise by approximately 30 per cent.
  • The project has also encouraged farmers to produce fodder for livestock, a practice that reduces the amount of unique flora that grazing animals consume. Producing fodder has helped reduce poverty. According to Amal Hijazi , USAID Project Manager, “Average household incomes have tangibly increased in the past few years”.
  • The project has worked to reduce poverty and settle local Bedouin tribes.
  • People who have benefited from the project include livestock owners, who now cultivate the fodder, along with local labourers and non-governmental organizations, who have organized training and demonstrations of new agricultural techniques. Community members have acquired new knowledge which they have used to involve women and vulnerable groups. Six women household heads now have been given farming plots to cultivate because of the increased irrigation opportunities. “Women must assert themselves in every field”, says Um Mohammad. “This project has given us the opportunity to meet our basic needs”.

Outlook (Conclusions and Next Steps)

Testimonies and Stakeholder Perceptions

Timeframe & Status

Completed

References

See also

Water Knowledge Fair 2006

External Resources

UNDP Jordan

Jordan Ministry of Water and Irrigation

Water Authority of Jordan

Interviewees and Key Contacts

Amal DABABSEH - Environment Specialist, UNDP Jordan

Helena NABER - Environment Analyst, UNDP Jordan

Attachments

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