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NGO launched to involve residents in land restoration, management

10 out of 12 of Jordan’s underwater basins overpumped — WADI

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Jun 18,2019 - Last updated at Jun 18,2019

HH Sharifa Zein Bint Nasser plants seedlings to mark the launch of the WADI project on Monday (Photo by Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas)

AMMAN — A new NGO, the Watershed and Development Initiative (WADI), was launched on Monday to engage local communities in land management and rehabilitation, according to a US embassy statement. 

Funded by the US Forest Service and US State Department Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, the NGO will use science-based practices to foster ethical water conservation and land stewardship projects, the statement said.

During the launch ceremony in Amman, US Chargé d’Affairs Karen Sasahara said: "WADI was born out of USAID’s Sustainable Environment and Economic Development Project, also known as ‘SEED’,", adding that "in the coming years with the WADI project, local communities will participate directly in watershed restoration efforts through shared ownership."

At the ceremony, Chairperson of the Hashemite Fund for the Development of the Jordan Badia HH Sharifa Zein Bint Nasser and WADI staff members also planted  seedlings to mark the project’s launch. 

In 2015, more than 92 per cent of the Kingdom’s rainwater evaporated, according to WADI's Natural Resources Officer Suad Hammoudeh, leaving only a small portion to seep into underground basins. 

Jordan has 12 groundwater basins, which provide over 74 per cent of Jordan’s drinking water, Hammoudeh said. However, 10 of these basins are being overpumped, she noted. 

Sasahara added: "Women and youth will play an important role too, as part of the WADI’s special outreach training and employment opportunities for Jordan's underserved populations."

WADI will work through local partnerships with the Hashemite Fund for the Development of Jordan Badia, the Ministry of Agriculture, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Royal Botanic Garden, ICARDA and the Greater Amman Municipality to implement projects, according to the statement.

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