Record high temperatures recently witnessed in the country have strained the national capacity to provide electricity and water to the people at a time when they need them most. Amman, Zarqa and other urban areas have experienced not only water shortages, but also repeated power cuts due to surging demand for electricity, which surpassed the national grid capacity of 2,600 megawatts. The outages affected water pumping stations, disrupting the water distribution programme.

To be sure the government should act and act swiftly to increase electricity generation, not only to meet public demand during sweltering heatwaves that sweep through the country, but also to meet future demands for energy sources.

At the same time, the public is called upon to share in this mounting responsibility by exercising discipline and restraint in electricity and water consumption. People must understand and appreciate that there comes a time when all sides must pitch in to save energy and water no matter how abundant they may appear. Consumers must comprehend that the sky is not the limit when it comes to their use of electricity and water.

Simultaneously, there is a pressing need to search for and develop alternative sources of energy, including solar and wind power. Granted, though, that while sun and wind energies are plentiful, their exploitation requires huge investments and the cost of the renewable energy they produce may even be much higher than those associated with traditional sources of energy.

In the final analysis, it is this shared responsibility between the government and consumers that counts most in the effort to avoid power or water shortages.

Meanwhile, the power companies that distribute electricity across the country are called upon to inform people well in advance about pre-programmed plans for power cuts, so they know when to expect outages and take precautions to avoid damage to their electrical appliances and electronic equipment.

Hopefully Jordan will emerge from this heat wave unscathed, provided each stakeholder plays its appropriate role.