Hana Namrouqa – Dec 26,2016

AMMAN — Implementation of the Wadi Al Arab Water Conveyance Project has commenced, with the goal of supplying the northern region with 45 million cubic metres of water annually by the year 2018, according to officials.

The project seeks to address an acute shortage of water in Irbid, Ajloun, Jerash and Mafraq governorates in the north, which host the majority of Syrian refugees and where water demand has increased by 40 per cent, Water Minister Hazem Nasser said in a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times on Monday.

The project will cost $125 million, according to Nasser, who said that the European Investment Bank is financing 50 per cent of the project, while the French Development Agency has extended a soft loan to finance another 40 per cent of the project. In addition, an EU grant is financing the remaining 10 per cent.

The project is designed to provide the northern region with water from the King Abdullah Canal and the Wihdeh Dam, according to the statement.

It entails establishing a water intake in King Abdullah Canal in Al Manshiyeh in the north of the Jordan Valley, a water treatment plant, a 28km long main carrier to transfer water from the treatment plant to the 110,000 cubic metre Zabada Reservoir in Irbid, as well as four pumping stations and reservoirs, the Water Ministry said in its statement.

An alliance of Turkish companies, as well as Jordanian contractors, will implement the project, which is scheduled to be completed and operational by the end of 2018, according to the ministry.

Meanwhile, the ministry’s spokesperson, Omar Salameh, indicated that once implemented, the project is expected to ease water shortage in the north.

“The project will cover the water needs of the northern governorates until the year 2028,” Salameh told The Jordan Times, indicating that it is one of the mega projects designed under the ministry’s water supply strategy for the northern governorates, launched in December 2015.

The strategy entails implementing eight projects at a cost of $308 million to provide Irbid, Jerash, Ajloun and Mafraq governorates with freshwater, in addition to rehabilitating water networks in Irbid, Jerash and Ajloun.