By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Water resources in the Arab region are constantly being depleted, which necessitates implementing integrated water management systems among Arab states, Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Najjar said on Thursday.

The Arab region is witnessing increasing challenges in the water sector, mainly due to depletion, control by countries from which the resources originate and over-exploitation of underground resources, particularly for agriculture, he said yesterday.

Weak awareness of water issues in the Arab world, coupled with limited use of water-saving devices and a lack of enforcement of integrated management concepts are also challenges facing the water sector in the region, the minister underscored.

He made the remarks during a ceremony organised by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation to mark World Water Day (WWD), celebrated annually on March 22.

Najjar highlighted that the ministry plans to review regulations governing underground water resources to end over-exploitation, noting that the ministry’s $7 billion executive programme for the next 25 years seeks to explore new water resources and protect and develop existing ones.

WWD is held annually on March 22 as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources, according to

This year’s WWD is celebrated under the theme “Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge”, aims at spotlighting and encouraging governments, organisations, communities and individuals to actively engage in addressing the challenges of urban water management, according to the website.

UNDP Programmes Manager Mohammad Saidam yesterday noted that urban expansion impacts water supply and sewage services in light of population growth around the world.

“We are hopeful that this year’s WWD draws the attention of the international community to the difficulties of managing urban water in light of climate change, conflicts and natural disasters,” he added.

United Nations figures indicate that most of the world’s population live in cities, while the urban landscape continues to grow. In addition, 38 per cent of urban landscape growth is represented by expanding slums, while the population of cities is increasing faster than infrastructure can cope with.

Ministry of Water and Irrigation Assistant Secretary General and Spokesperson Adnan Zu’bi called on public, private and civic institutions to collaborate in order to reduce water consumption in Jordan by following environment-friendly practices.

Jordan is recognised as the fourth water-poorest nation in the world, according to the ministry, which constantly urges households to install water-saving devices that can reduce water consumption by up to 30 per cent.