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Al-Wirr Lettuce Farm in Zarqa under the Hydroponic Green Farming Initiative HGFI 2015

Jordan: Policy effectiveness and increasing treated wastewater reuse

 

Jordan has one of the lowest levels of water availability per capita in the world. The Syrian crisis, the population increase, and the changing precipitation patterns in the region further aggravate the water scarcity impacts. Jordan has set up multi-level institutions capable to put into practice its exhaustive and well-designed policy; as well as an effective cooperation between the different stakeholders (governmental authorities, international cooperation, civil society and private sector).

The Wastewater Management Policy (1998) articulated around 4 key issues: Sanitation utilities improvement, a better addressing of public health concerns, strengthening pollution control of water resources, and consideration of treated effluents as a source for irrigation reuse and for improving the socioeconomic conditions.

The key point of this policy is that treated effluent must be considered as a water resource and not separated in policy from other water resources. Today, wastewater treatment plants provide secondary high quality reclaimed water (with ca. 90 % being reused in agriculture) and national water resources are thereby increasing.

The National Water Strategy (2008-2022) further aims “to achieve national water security and to serve the overall development objectives”. Some specific goals are stated for wastewater:

  • To provide adequate wastewater collection and treatment facilities to all the major cities and small towns.
  • To protect groundwater aquifers from contaminated wastewater in the areas surrounding wastewater treatment plants.
  • To use treated wastewater for activities that provide the highest return to the economy.
  • The quality of treated wastewater from municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants must meet national standards and is monitored regularly.
  • Tariffs for wastewater collection are rationalized.
  • All treatment plants are operated according to international standards.

Photo credit: USAID