By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Two industrial wastewater treatment units will be established this year in the Kingdom’s two major stone and marble cutting sites to conserve water and reduce environment pollution, officials said on Tuesday.

Under two agreements signed yesterday between the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the Jordan Business Alliance on Water (JBAW), two industrial wastewater treatment units will be established in Sahab and Foara in Irbid Governorate.

The treatment plants will process water discharged from the manufacturing process of marble and stone products in the two areas, the officials said.

The treatment unit in Foara will be established at a cost of JD270,000 to conserve 56,000 cubic metres (cm) of potable water and cut down carbon dioxide emissions, Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Najjar said yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Sahab plant, which will be established at a cost of JD647,750, will help save 273cm of potable water, he added.

Najjar expressed the ministry’s support for water reuse projects implemented in partnership with the private, public and civil society sectors.

“The JBAW initiative is the first of its kind in the region and third internationally. The alliance is currently working on similar projects in different sectors, including agribusiness and tourism,” the minister noted.

Chaired by HRH Prince Feisal, the JBAW is a collaborative effort between the private sector, represented by the Jordan Chamber of Industry and the American Chamber of Commerce, the public sector, represented by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, and development agencies represented by USAID, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the World Economic Forum.

The alliance seeks to support sustainable water use by implementing public-private community partnership projects that are socially, economically and environmentally integrated, according to the JBAW.

Jordan Chamber of Industry President Hatem Halawani said the private sector is committed to protecting the environment and rationalising water use.

In a JBAW statement released yesterday, the alliance noted that the marble and stone manufacturing process uses a great deal of water.

The reuse projects will not only save water, but also reduce the impact of the manufacturing by-products, such as dust and stone particles, on the environment.

Exports of stone and marble amounted to nearly JD40 million in 2008, while the subsector employs some 7,500 workers, according to the statement.