By Hana Namrouqa – Jun 27,2015

AMMAN — Pumping water from the Mujib Dam to Karak will commence during the first week of July to supply the southern governorate with 5 million cubic metres (mcm) of water annually, officials said on Saturday.

The Ministry of Water and Irrigation started experimental pumping from the JD11-million project at noon on Thursday, Water Minister Hazem Nasser said in a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times.

“Over 40,000 subscribers in northern Karak will witness a notable improvement in water supply, while water allocations in the southern part of Karak and Karak District will increase by 400 cubic metres per hour,” Nasser added.

Local companies and contractors implemented the project, which is co-funded by the Kuwaiti government and the Treasury, according to the minister.

Nasser noted that the project seeks to address the shortage of water allocated to Karak, especially the northern part of the governorate, underscoring that demand for water is rising in light of the increasing number of subscribers, fluctuating amounts of water pumped from wells due to changing climate patterns, and the additional pressure placed on water resources and networks by the continuous influx of Syrian refugees.

Water Ministry Spokesperson Osama Salameh told The Jordan Times that construction work on the project was completed “in record time”, highlighting that it entailed building several pumping stations to convey water across variable elevations.

The ministry announced the project in September last year and signed the agreement with the local contractor in December 2014, when construction commenced.

Under the project, an 18.5-kilometre pipeline was constructed to channel water from the Mujib Dam to Karak, 140km south of Amman.

The pipeline will convey 5mcm from Mujib Dam to Shihan Reservoir, which has the capacity to store 1,500 cubic metres.

In addition, six submersible water pumps with a pumping capacity of 300 cubic metres per hour were installed as part of the project, which also entailed the construction of three reservoirs to store 2,000 cubic metres of water.

Established in 2003, Mujib Dam has a maximum capacity of 29.8mcm.

“State-of-the-art technology” was applied in this project, under which water will be desalinated and treated with an advanced ultra-filtration system, according to the ministry.

Karak has a population of over 260,400, according to the Department of Statistics’ 2014 estimates. The governorate is home to several of the country’s main wells, streams and dams.

Water per capita in Karak stands at 165 litres per day, according to the Water Ministry, which describes the amount as above average.

However, 60 per cent of the supplied water is lost through leakage due to violations and deteriorated water networks, pipes and pumping stations.