By Balqis Zeidan – Nov 28,2019

The Ministry of Water and Irrigation has begun a 30 million-euro solar-power project at the Disi and Zara Maeen main pumping stations, according to ministry Spokesperson Omar Salameh (Photo courtesy of Water Ministry)

AMMAN — The Water Ministry seeks to raise the level of its water and sanitation services, despite all the challenges the sector faces, said the ministry’s Spokesperson Omar Salameh on Thursday.

The exacerbation of the status of water in the Kingdom and the increase of power costs for water treatment has led to high expenses the water sector cannot bear, Salameh said in a statement sent to The Jordan Times.

He noted that the government provided JD300 million in support to the water sector in 2018.

The sector’s revenues cover only two-thirds of its expenses, Salameh said, highlighting that losses of the sector surpassed 1 per cent of the gross domestic product.

The ministry does not intend to raise water expenses, the spokesperson said, noting that the ministry is considering restructuring water volume charges to enhance the water situation in the Kingdom.

It has also established procedures, projects and efforts to reduce losses, raise efficiencies, decrease energy costs and increase water quantities taken from different sources, Salameh added.

Taking one cubic metre from its source and pumping it to citizens costs over JD2.45, of which JD0.75 goes towards electricity, more than JD1.08 towards maintenance and operations and the remaining costs towards projects and administration, according to the statement.

Salameh said that the electricity costs for water consumption exceeded 17 per cent of the Kingdom’s total energy bill in 2019, increasing the budget deficit for the water sector, which exceeded JD300 million by the end of 2018.

In 2010, the electricity cost for pumping one cubic metre of water was JD0.044, compared to more than JD0.126 in 2019, causing electricity expenses to increase from JD53 million in 2010 to over JD250 million by the end of 2019, which “places more pressure on the water sector”, according to the statement.

The ministry plans to reduce expenses through renewable energy projects, such as the wind energy project in Maan, which generates 80 megawatts and saves around JD13.7 million, the Quweira solar power plant producing 103 megawatts and saving around JD75 million and the Daleel power plant generating 50 megawatts and saving around JD 4.6 million.

The ministry has begun a 30 million-euro solar-power project at the Disi and Zara Maeen main pumping stations, Salameh said.

He added that the ministry began implementing energy-efficient pumps at conveyance and pumping stations and renewing the financial reform plan of the sector to cover maintenance and operational costs.