First sanitation services for over 100,000 people in Jordan

By Nibal Zgheib

First sanitation services for over 100,000 people in Jordan

(l-r) Imad Fakhoury, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Hazim El-Naser, Minister of Water and Irrigation and Heike Harmgart, EBRD Regional Head of the Eastern Mediterranean and Head of the Resident Office in Amman.

EBRD and donors provide €53.24 million to upgrade wastewater services for local residents, including refugees

Over 100,000 residents in 15 towns in the western part of Jordan’s Irbid governorate, of whom 18 per cent are Syrians, will have sanitation services for the first time in the area.  

Continuing the EBRD’s efforts to improve Jordan’s infrastructure, through its Municipal Resilience Refugee Response Framework, the Bank will finance a €53 million investment for the benefit of the Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) to upgrade its wastewater network.

The proximity of the city of Irbid to the Syrian border has resulted in a significant number of Syrian refugees resettling in Irbid and nearby towns. Population growth in the area has put unprecedented strain on the wastewater network, placing extra pressure on the outdated infrastructure for wastewater collection, particularly in the towns outside of the city.

The Bank’s financing will contribute to the construction of a wastewater network serving 15 towns, located in western areas of Irbid governorate. This will include the infrastructure for a catchment area of 21.9 km2 and the installation of pumping stations to connect the towns to the new network and to existing treatment plants at Wadi Al Arab.

KfW, the German development bank, and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) are also implementing a parallel investment that will rehabilitate the water and wastewater networks in other parts of Irbid governorate.

The project will be made possible with grant co-financing support of US$ 2.5 million from the World Bank’s Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF) and €5.9 million from the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund. 

Jordan’s population is expected to double by 2050, and the country already faces extremely scarce water resources and poor wastewater infrastructure. Currently, only 63 per cent of the population have access to wastewater collection or treatment systems.

Heike Harmgart, EBRD Regional Head of the Eastern Mediterranean and Head of the Resident Office in Amman, said: “We are delighted to continue our strong partnership with WAJ and to help the government advance its resilience and refugee response programme. The EBRD’s investment will enable remote areas to be connected for the first time to the wastewater network; this will not only benefit the local community but also Syrian refugees living in Jordan. These projects will help relieve strained municipal services in Irbid and strengthen the resilience of the country as a whole.”

Hazim El-Naser, Minister of Water and Irrigation, stressed the importance of this financing which is part of the Jordan Response Plan 2018-2020 and will improve the local sanitation conditions in 15 large towns in western Irbid, protect valuable groundwater sources in that area, and eventually contribute to increased treated wastewater for use in agriculture in the Jordan Valley thus allowing the release of more freshwater (currently used in agriculture) for municipal use.

As part of its country strategy for Jordan, the EBRD strives to develop and implement a comprehensive wastewater investment programme in order to resolve the country's difficulties in the sector, caused by rapid population growth, and the presence of 1.3 million Syrians. The western Irbid wastewater project is the third of its kind to be implemented by the EBRD in Jordan.

Since Jordan joined the EBRD in 2012, the Bank has invested US $1 billion in 41 projects benefiting various sectors of the country’s economy.