EBRD backs clean-up of contaminated lagoon in Jordan

By Nibal Zgheib

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  • EBRD loan of JOD 4 million and grant of US$ 11.4 million to remediate contaminated lagoon east of Russaifa
  • Construction of water drainage system and underground water conveyance infrastructure
  • Increased amount of water – 400,000 m3 per year – available for use in agriculture

The population in and around Jordan's Russaifa Municipality will benefit from the remediation and drainage of a serious environmental hazard, thanks to an EBRD-financed operation to decontaminate the polluted Russaifa lagoon, which is located 15 kilometres north-east of the capital.

The EBRD is providing a financing package consisting of a JOD 4.0 million loan and a US$ 11.4 million grant to the Greater Amman Municipality for the construction of a new stormwater drainage system inside the lagoon, a new underground water conveyance system and ancillary infrastructure including a water reservoir and a pedestrian bridge.

The stagnant lagoon, which is situated in an industrial and populated area, has been a hazard to the area’s residents for decades. Its overflowing water contains domestic sewage, and discharges from industrial activities, and rainwater among other sources.

The 200,000 m2 lagoon is the result of a natural stream – obstructed due to mining activities – that used to flow from Wadi Marka, a rainwater catchment area south-west of the lagoon, into the Zarqa River, which is north-east of the lagoon. The investment will restore the link between the original watercourse upstream of the Wadi Marka catchment area and its downstream locations, which will increase the amount of water available for agricultural purposes to 400,000 m3 per year.

The decontaminated area is expected to be developed into a public park for neighbouring communities, thus contributing to a greener and more resilient city.

The Mayor of Amman, Youssef El Shawarbeh, and the EBRD Director for the Eastern Mediterranean region, Heike Harmgart, signed the project at the Greater Amman Municipality today.

The EBRD has invested over €1.3 billion through 44 projects in Jordan since it began operations in the country in 2012. Facilitating non-sovereign financing and promoting direct and indirect financing of private enterprises, such as small and medium-sized businesses, are key priorities for the Bank’s work in Jordan.

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