by Hana Namrouqa | Sep 23, 2012

AMMAN — The Jordan Valley Authority (JVA) on Sunday announced a plan to double the amount of treated wastewater used for irrigation purposes in the Jordan Valley by 2020.

JVA Secretary General Saad Abu Hammour said that the authority will maximise the use of treated wastewater for irrigating crops to save scarce fresh water for drinking.

“Jordan currently treats 113 million cubic metres (mcm) of wastewater annually, 95 per cent of which is used for agricultural and industrial purposes. The amount will be raised to 240mcm by the year 2020,” Abu Hammour underscored.

He said the step would help address Jordan’s water shortage in light of the growing demand for water in various sectors, highlighting the need to support agriculture.

Almost 50 per cent of the Jordan Valley, the Kingdom’s breadbasket, is irrigated with freshwater in a country categorised as the fourth water-poorest nation in the world and which struggles to secure potable water for an increasing population and growing industry.

Abu Hammour noted that a programme was initiated last year to monitor any microbiological pathogens in crops irrigated with treated wastewater during the 2011-2012 agricultural season, to ensure that the crops meet safety standards.

“Results of the monitoring programme will be announced during a workshop on Wednesday,” the official noted.

Experts and officials encourage farmers to use treated wastewater for irrigation because it is a sustainable water resource that can also save farmers in the Jordan Valley JD4 million worth of fertiliser every year.

Experts say that one of the many advantages of treated wastewater reuse is in reducing the use of synthetic fertilisers, because treated wastewater is already rich in plant nutrients.

Studies conducted by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the JVA indicate that each 35-dunum farm unit could save JD1,000-JD3,000 in fertiliser costs each year if it used treated wastewater.