EBRD and UK enhance wastewater services to address refugee crisis in Jordan

By Nibal Zgheib

EBRD and UK enhance wastewater services to address refugee crisis in Jordan

US$ 48 million financing package to the Water Authority of Jordan for infrastructure investments

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), with support from the World Bank’s Concessional Finance Facility (CFF), are strengthening the resilience of Jordan as the influx of refugees from Syria continues to strain the country’s resources.

An EBRD investment of US$ 24 million to the Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) will finance the construction of a 30 km wastewater pipeline that will relieve the pressure on the country’s capital Amman. The pipeline will connect the Ain Ghazal pre-treatment plant in the district of Amman with the As-Samra wastewater plant in the north of Jordan, serving 1.78 million people.

The investment will be co-financed with US$ 17 million provided by DFID, US$ 5 million from the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund and US$ 2 million from the CFF. The total amount of the package is US$ 48 million.

Reducing untreated sewage overflows will alleviate the risks of environmental contamination and the pollution of surface water in the surrounding area.

Jordan hosts about 1.4 million refugees from Syria who have fled their homes and are direct users of municipal services, including water supply and sanitation. Water is a scarce resource in Jordan and there is a critical need to invest sustainably in the wastewater sector. The EBRD has addressed this issue in the past with investments in the country’s water infrastructure, including the rehabilitation of East Zarqa wastewater plant.

Dr. Hazim El-Naser, Minister of Water and Irrigation, said: “The Ministry is being supported by the EBRD and the United Kingdom in financing a major wastewater project that will assist greatly in enhancing Jordan’s wastewater treatment capacities in the largest treatment plant which serves the Amman and Zarqa governorates, protecting the environment and increasing the amount of reclaimed water available for irrigation in the Jordan Valley.”

Heike Harmgart, EBRD Head of Office in Jordan, commented: "The EBRD is pleased to enhance Jordan’s resilience and its refugee support with this financial package for Ain Ghazal. We are proud of the collaboration with the United Kingdom’s DFID and Jordan’s Ministry of Water to develop vital new wastewater infrastructure that will alleviate the pressure on the north of Jordan."

British Ambassador to Jordan, Edward Oakden, said: “The international community needs to support Jordan’s continued resilience and stability as it generously hosts large numbers of refugees. Critical infrastructure improvements such as this help to ensure that Jordanian communities continue to receive the essential services like water and waste management. The United Kingdom will continue to prioritise these important infrastructure and other service improvements as part of the quarter of a billion dollars of support we are providing to Jordan this year.”

Jordan became an EBRD shareholder in 2012 and to date the Bank has committed over US$ 850 million across 35 projects in various sectors of the economy, in addition to US$ 180 million of trade finance credit lines to local banks.

The EBRD’s strategic plan for the period 2016-18 has three priorities: strengthening economic resilience, addressing global challenges and supporting regional integration. In the context of the EBRD’s focus on Green Economy Transition since late 2015, the Bank expects to more than triple the volume of renewable energy financed in Jordan in the near future.