by Mohammad Ghazal – May 09,2018

Jordan, which counts around 9.5 million people, has enough water for two million persons (File photo)

DEAD SEA — With temperatures are expected to increase in Jordan by 2050 as a result of climate change and growing demand on scarce water resources, innovative solutions and better water management are needed to address the situation, experts said on Wednesday.

In Jordan, where around 65 per cent of water is used for irrigating crops, there is a need for the government, the private sector and civil society organisations (CSOs) to come together and think “out of the box” to address the rising challenge of water scarcity, experts said during a session held as part of the 27th Annual Meeting and Business Forum of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

“Jordan has water that is enough for 2 million persons, but we have around 9.5 million inhabitants in Jordan currently so the situation is very tough,” Dureid Mahasneh, chairman of Edama Association, said during the session titled “Working with civil society to increase resilience to climate change and water scarcity.”

The influx of refugees over the years coupled with transboundary water issues with neighbouring countries and the impact of climate change have worsened the situation, he said.

In good seasons, the average annual rainfall in Jordan is about 8.5 billion cubic metres and in the average for all seasons is around 4.5 billion cubic metres.

Of the total, around 7 per cent is used, while the rest evaporates.

“More water is expected to evaporate as climate change is expected to increase temperatures in Jordan between 11.3º-1.8ºC by 2050,” said Mahasneh, calling for joint efforts to address the situation.

Haled Irani, president of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, stressed on the key role CSOs play in raising awareness about the impact of climate change and in raising awareness about best means to protect water resources.

“Jordan is a water-stressed country and CSOs have a major role in advocacy and raising awareness,” said Irani, underlining the need for joint cooperation between the government, CSOs and the private sector to address challenges in this regard.

Indicating that Jordan is the 4th poorest country in terms of water in the world, Basim Al Saleh, managing partner at GreenTech, said that there was a need for thinking innovatively with regard to solutions to address the water situation in Jordan and the impact of climate change.

He added that the development bank needs to increase support to ideas by the private sector and adopt the latest innovative solutions to address challenges in this area.

According to EDAMA, around 65 per cent of water is used for the agriculture sector, which contributes only about 5 per cent to the gross domestic product.

“This is mismanagement…we need better management of the water resources…there is also a need for proper regional cooperation in water management,” Mahasneh said.

Tarek Hosny, managing director of Schaduf, stressed on the need for proper water management systems and educating farmers on the need to adopt the latest solutions and raise awareness amongst them on crops that do not consume lots of water.

The experts also called for intensifying efforts to educate the public and stakeholders on the impact of climate change and how best to preserve water resources.

“We should not assume that local people know what climate change is and what its impacts are… CSOs have a great role to play in raising awareness in this regard,” Irani said.