by Hana Namrouqa | Dec 30, 2013

AMMAN — The Ministry of Water and Irrigation has launched a project to rehabilitate water networks in Ajloun Governorate, according to government officials.

Under the project, a local contractor will renovate water systems in Ajloun in the north of the country, increase the capacity of pumping stations and improve the governorate’s water conveyors, Water Minister Hazem Nasser said.

“The project, which will cost JD2 million, seeks to improve water supply, especially in the north during summer, when water demand surges, with the northern region hosting thousands of Syrian refugees,” Nasser said in a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times on Monday.

The ministry’s spokesperson, Omar Salameh, told The Jordan Times that the project is funded under the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) grant, noting that extending new water networks in Ajloun, some 70km northwest of Amman, seeks to prepare its infrastructure for receiving water from the Disi Water Conveyance Project.

In 2011, the GCC allocated $5 billion to finance development projects in Jordan during the period 2012-2016.

The grant is divided between Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, with each country paying $1.25 billion.

A similar project will also be implemented in Jerash at a cost of almost JD1.3 million, according to the minister, who signed the projects agreements with local contractors on Sunday.

The ministry is undertaking scores of projects in the northern region to rehabilitate the networks towards receiving additional amounts of water, when the ministry constructs a major pipeline from the Abu Alanda Reservoir in Amman to the Zaatari water station in Mafraq.

The pipeline, construction of which is planned to commence in the second quarter of next year, is designed to channel 30 million cubic metres per year to the north.

The northern region suffers from an acute water shortage caused by limited resources, violations to main water lines and deteriorating networks, while the situation has worsened with the influx of Syrian refugees, according to ministry officials.

The total number of Syrians living in Jordan is estimated at over 1.3 million, over half-a-million of whom are refugees who arrived in the Kingdom following the onset of the conflict in Syria in March 2011, according to official figures.

Over 70 per cent of the Syrian refugees in Jordan live amongst host communities, while the rest are accommodated at the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Mafraq Governorate and the Mreijeb Al Fhoud Camp in Zarqa Governorate.