By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – The Ministry of Water and Irrigation has approved granting a licence to a French company for studying and investing in the thermal power of deep water aquifers in Jordan, a government official said on Saturday.

Aquifers with a depth ranging between 1,000-3,000 metres are characterised by high temperatures, which allow for utilising their thermal power for electricity generation, Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Najjar said yesterday.

In a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times, Najjar said the ministry encourages the utilisation of deep water aquifers to generate electricity provided that their make-up is not affected.

“After studying the company’s request to dig deep water wells to study and invest in thermal power for electricity generation, the ministry approved the licence,” Najjar said in the statement.

The minister underscored that the ministry gave its approval only after ensuring that the project will not affect the nature of the basins or their water storage.

“Water will not be extracted from the basins and the depth of the wells will not exceed 3,000 metres,” the minister highlighted, noting that studies to be conducted by the company on the deep water basins will be shared with the Water Authority of Jordan.

“The studies will constitute a source of updated scientific information about the nature, status and behaviour of deep water basins in Jordan, which in turn will save the ministry the cost of conducting similar studies in its quest for new water sources,” Najjar noted.

There are over 12 renewable and non-renewable aquifers in Jordan spread over an area of 633-1,856 square kilometres, according to the ministry.

Adnan Zu’bi, ministry spokesperson and assistant secretary general, told The Jordan Times yesterday that locations have not been identified yet for digging the wells, noting that any deep aquifer qualifies.

He said the ministry will not charge the company for studying and investing in the deep water basins, pointing out that it will benefit from the French company’s studies, while the electricity generated will provide an “alternative energy source”.