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‘Over $1 billion invested in water sector in 2017’

By Hana Namrouqa - Jan 02,2018 - Last updated at Jan 02,2018

AMMAN — Over $1 billion was invested in the water sector in 2017 in projects to improve and increase water supply, link more households to the sewage network and expand the sector’s reliance on renewable energy, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

Over the past year, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation has completed the mega National Water Carrier project, which interlinks water projects across the Kingdom, Minister of Water and Irrigation Hazem El Nasser said in a press statement on the sector’s achievements and plans.

“The seven components of the National Water Carrier project were all completed in 2017 to provide the northern governorates with 300-500 cubic metres of water per hour and to increase this amount whenever the need arises…” El Nasser said in the statement.

The strategic project seeks to connect water projects in the south of the Kingdom to projects in the central and northern regions, in order to better supply water-distressed areas, especially in the north, via an expansive network of 600 kilometres of pipelines, ministry spokesperson Omar Salameh said on Tuesday.

“In 2017, the ministry has invested more than a billion US dollars in the water sector…” Salameh told The Jordan Times over the phone.

The national carrier is one of the 10 projects listed under the ministry’s water supply strategy for the northern governorates, launched in December 2015, according to the ministry, which said that the strategy entails implementing projects worth $308 million to provide Irbid, Jerash, Ajloun and Mafraq governorates with freshwater, in addition to renovating water networks in Irbid, Jerash and Ajloun.

Meanwhile, the ministry has completed some 80 per cent of a project to improve water supply in the Northern Badia by improving the supply systems of Al Akeb wells, according to the ministry.

“Work on the project’s three phases has been completed over the past year, while the fourth and the fifth phases are expected to be completed in 2018,” El Nasser said.

Regarding the ongoing strategic project of the Amman-Shidiyeh-Hassa Water Conveyance Project, the ministry said that work has started on the project.

The Amman-Shidiyeh-Hassa Water Conveyance Project aims at extracting water from deep wells located in the south, between the Shidiyeh, Hassa and Qatraneh areas, according to the ministry, which said that water will be sourced from 45 deep wells.

The project’s blueprints are completed, according to the minister, who said that the project’s 10 wells at depths reaching 1,500 metres are ready.

“Under the project’s first phase, a total of 20 million cubic metres of water will be pumped annually. The amount is set to increase to 50 million cubic metres of water in the second phase,” the minister said in the statement.

On its national campaign to protect water resources and end water theft and violations on the water network, the ministry announced that it has removed 35,216 violatiosn on water networks and resources since the campaign started in 2013.

In its endeavour to preserve ground water from further depletion, the ministry has also sealed 998 illegal wells, seized and confiscated 58 drilling rigs used for the illegal drilling of wells and ending 15,125 violations on the 110-kilometre-long King Abdullah Canal, according to the ministry.

For this year, the minister said that major projects will be announced and other ongoing programmes will be completed, underscoring that work on eight new major dams has commenced.

“Implementation of eight new major dams and 26 ponds has commenced,” the minister said.

Salameh indicated that by the start of 2017, a total of 12 major dams were storing rainwaer in different parts of the country with the capacity of 333mcm, noting that new dams in Karak and Kufranja started storing water last year.

He noted that the ministry is working to implement and secure funding for the new eight dams which are the Wadat, Feidan, Rahmah, Waleh Dam expansion, Zarqa-Maeen, Ibn Hamad, Lajoun, Wadi Assal.

 

In the statement, El Nasser said that Jordan high ranking internationally in terms of water harvesting and water storage, noting that the kindom has 12 major dams, over 165 ponds and 25 sand dams.

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