By Hana Namrouqa

DEAD SEA – Water experts from 32 countries on Thursday called for subsidising water efficiency programmes and improving public involvement strategies to achieve water reduction targets.

At the conclusion of the sixth International Water Association (IWA) Specialist Conference on Efficient Use and Management of Water (Efficient 2011) on Thursday, the experts underscored the importance of training and capacity building in water efficiency.

“Without excellent training, water utility workers, hospitality staff, plumbers, gardeners and other professionals will not understand how important their role is in helping to reduce demand,” the experts said in a statement.

They underscored the importance of water loss management, noting that countries in the Middle East and North Africa region struggle to recover lost water which should be delivered to subscribers instead of being wasted.

During the conference’s closing session, Ministry of Water and Irrigation Secretary General Maysoon Zu’bi announced the establishment of the Jordan Water Community Development Fund.

“The fund will support the implementation of water demand management projects for low-income communities to improve the quality of life and support the socio-economic development in their areas,” she said.

Zu’bi added that the new initiative will support water efficiency projects, such as water harvesting, grey water use and maintenance of households’ internal networks among other ventures.

“Be confident that the money you have pledged for these projects will not only help achieve more efficient water management and use, but will also create work opportunities for many, and help improve their livelihoods,” she told participants.

During the five-day event, which included technical tours to water-efficiency projects in Jordan, over 600 experts explored the impacts of drought, climate change and water loss among other global challenges on water resources and came up with recommendations on incorporating water demand management in urban water planning.

The conference, organised by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, USAID and the IWA, was designed to shed light on the current global water crisis and find solutions to water challenges, particularly for countries that suffer from water scarcity such as Jordan.