AMMAN — Main and tertiary water pipes will be renovated in five towns in Mafraq Governorate, which has seen a 40 per cent rise in demand for water since the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011, according to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation.

Under the project, the ministry will replace deteriorated water networks in five towns to increase the efficiency of the water supply in light of the rising demand, Minister of Water and Irrigation Hazem Nasser said on Saturday in a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times.

“Providing additional water and improving supply are some of the main challenges the ministry is working hard to address in light of the scarce water resources and the extra burden placed on the sector due to the influx of Syrian refugees,” Nasser said in the statement.

Located 80 kilometres northeast of the capital, Mafraq is site of the Zaatari refugee camp, which is the Middle East’s largest refugee camp, where some 80,000 Syrian refugees have been living since it opened in 2012, according to UN figures.

As the conflict in Syria enters its sixth year, Jordan continues to host 1.4 million Syrians, of whom 85 per cent live among host communities.

Nasser underscored that the ministry is in constant communication with international donor agencies to attract funding for projects that improve water and wastewater services, due to the “unprecedented” surge in demand for water.

Ministry’s spokesperson Omar Salameh said that construction on the project has begun and is scheduled to be completed within six months.

“The project’s cost is JD300,000 and is funded by a Saudi grant under a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) grant,” Salameh said.

In 2011, the GCC allocated $5 billion to finance development projects in Jordan between 2012 and 2016. Some $425.4 million of the grant is designated for water and sanitation projects.