Maintenance of artesian wells ongoing as water per capita drops by half
by Hana Namrouqa | Apr 18, 2013 | 22:37 Updated: Apr 18, 2013 | 22:37

AMMAN — Authorities have rented scores of private wells in Mafraq Governorate to meet the surging demand for water as summer approaches, according to a government official.

The Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) is also carrying out maintenance work on several artesian wells in Mafraq as part of measures to generate water for the town, which has a population of 50,000, and hosts 70,000 Syrians as well as over 123,000 Syrian refugees in two refugee facilities.

“The water situation in Mafraq is exceptional because it is receiving a constant influx of Syrian refugees, which necessitates exploring new water resources and the rehabilitation of existing ones,” WAJ Secretary General Tawfik Habashneh said.

Habashneh noted that during the past week the Mafraq Water Directorate has received equipment and a number of vehicles from UNICEF to improve the water supply in the governorate.

Mafraq Governorate, 80km northeast of Amman, sits on one of the Kingdom’s main reservoirs and supplies Amman, Irbid, Jerash and Zarqa with water from the Sumaya artesian wells.

Water per capita in Mafraq was one of the highest in Jordan, reaching more than 100 cubic metres per year, according to water officials in the governorate, who said in previous statements to The Jordan Times that the amount has dropped by half over the past year since it is shared with the Syrian refugees residing in the city.

Officials and town residents have complained about the deteriorating water situation and expressed concern that the supply will further drop during summer, when temperatures reach their 40s.

Habashneh said the new equipment and measures to generate more water for town residents will positively affect the water supply in Mafraq.

On a national level, he said the Ministry of Water and Irrigation will activate its summer emergency plan next week.

“The plan aims at addressing challenges and increasing pressure over water, especially as temperatures rise and the population grows with the return of expatriates and the influx of tourists,” Habashneh noted.

The plan entails exploring new water resources, and rehabilitating wells and water resources among other measures, according to the ministry.