(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Awareness among Jordanians about the scarcity of water resources and the need to maximise the use of every drop has increased over the past five years, a senior government official said on Monday.
The culture of reducing water consumption due to the critical water shortage has improved, Minister of Water and Irrigation Mousa Jamani said yesterday, underscoring that people are increasingly seeking methods to cut down on use of the precious resource.
"Although people are more aware now about Jordan's acute water shortage, efforts to increase water efficiency in the various sectors and reduce water loss must continue in order to narrow the gap between the rising demand and supply," the minister said during the closing ceremony of the USAID-funded IDARA (Instituting Water Demand Management in Jordan) Project.
Launched in 2007, IDARA aimed at building institutional capacity for water demand management (WDM), creating the institutional and legal environment to promote WDM and demonstrating selected WDM initiatives to the public, among other objectives.
USAID Mission Director Beth Paige noted that water resources in Jordan are limited and constantly dwindling, which necessitates adopting water-conservation practices.
Paige said water resources in the Kingdom are being depleted due to rising demand and the impact of climate change.
Experts believe climate change has caused a 30 per cent reduction in the country's surface water resources, as well as a decrease in the volume of rainfall and agricultural production, both of which Jordan and the Arab world rely on heavily.
The recently issued Fourth World Water Development Report said that increasing demand for water and a growing population have pushed water consumption in Jordan beyond sustainable limits, warning that this will lead to overuse of groundwater resources.
The report projected that by 2022, the Kingdom's population may exceed 7.8 million, raising water demand to 1,673 million cubic metres (mcm), and pushing the water deficit from the current 457mcm to 659mcm within a decade.
Setta Tutundjian, project management specialist in water resources and environment at USAID, reviewed programmes and projects that IDARA implemented with the aim of raising public awareness on the country's water situation and means to reduce consumption.
Over the past five years, the ministry and IDARA launched water efficiency guides for sectors categorised as large-water consumers, such as high-rise buildings, hotels, public sector premises and gardens.
Tutundjian noted that the guides seek to preserve the Kingdom's scant water resources and help the various sectors cut down their water consumption and energy bills.
In addition, several campaigns were implemented with the partnership of the private sector to introduce the public to water-saving devices and encourage them to install them at home.
"More than 14,000 households were fitted with water fixtures in different parts of the country. Also, water saving devices were installed at scores of schools and mosques to reduce consumption of water," Tutundjian noted.
Jordan suffers from an acute water shortage and is globally categorised as the fourth water-poorest nation. Given the fact that conventional resources have been depleted to provide people with water, management of water demand and raising public awareness on the importance of water efficiency is vital to meet a rising demand, according to experts and officials.
Figures indicate that WDM activities can save Jordan 400 million cubic metres of water each year.