By Hana Namrouqa – Jun 07,2016

AMMAN — Drilling of three new wells in the northern region has commenced to meet the increased demand for water brought on by the influx of Syrian refugees, officials said on Monday.

“Drilling the new wells is urgent to deal with an unprecedented demand for water in Ajloun and Irbid in light of the influx of the Syrian refugees, coupled with the rising temperatures and the start of the fasting month of Ramadan,” said Water Minister Hazem Nasser.

Two new wells in Ajloun Governorate’s Ain Jana and Zakik will generate 110 cubic metres of water per hour, while a third well is being drilled in Irbid’s Bait Ras to generate 50 cubic metres of water hourly, Nasser said in a statement, adding that the wells would supply over 3,000 cubic metres each day.

The majority of Syrians refugees reside in the northern governorates and their daily per capita share of water stands at 40 litres provided by wells, according to the ministry.

“Demand for water in the northern region has increased by 40 per cent since the start of the Syrian crisis, while demand for water at the national level increased by 20 per cent,” Ministry Spokesperson Omar Salameh told The Jordan Times.

Several teams from the Water Authority of Jordan, its central workshops directorate and the Yarmouk Water Company have started drilling the wells.

Nasser urged the teams to finish drilling the wells and extending the pipelines to transfer the water before the end of Ramadan to improve water supply in the three areas, which suffer from “severe shortages”, he said.

The minister expects the water situation to improve once the wells are completed but he emphasised that the long term solution to water shortage in the north is linking the region to the national water carrier.

The northern region is scheduled to be linked to the national water carrier by next summer, according to Nasser, who stressed that water supply will drastically improve in the north once the project is completed.