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Atlas of Jordan

Myriam Ababsa

Chapter ten - Jordan Mega Projects for Water, Energy and Transportation

Amman. The Capital’s Monopolization of Water Ressources

Khadija Darmame

Texte intégral

1In 2011 Amman used 16.4% (148 million m3) of the country’s water resources due to its population and industry. Internal sources supplied only 38 million m3 while external sources provided 110 million m3  (fig. X.6). Until the 1950s, the city was famous for its Sayl river and its tributaries, whose plentiful source flowed at a rate of 100 m3/h. In 1975, Jordan had a population of about 2 million, including 600,000 in the city of Amman alone. The demographic and economic pressures on water resources were huge, especially since water distribution had sparked conflicts and hoarding by Israel after the 1967 war and it became more and more difficult to supply water to the city. The construction of the King Abdullah Canal was thus initiated to bring water from the Sea of Galilee and the Yarmuk. Meanwhile, Amman was supplied with water from Azraq. Pumping water from the Azraq Oasis, located 100 km east of Amman, began in 1980 and increased after 1990. About half of Azraq’s water, 54 million m3 per year, is pumped to supply Amman and Zarqa and one quarter of the water drunk in Amman comes from the Azraq Oasis (MWI GTZ 2008).

Figure X.6 — Amman Internal Water Resources in 2000.

Figure X.6 — Amman Internal Water Resources in 2000.

2Figure X.7 shows that in 2000 Amman’s water supply came from diverse sources: 36-40% of the governorate’s water comes from the Jordan River, fed primarily by the Yarmouk through the Deir Alla / Zai / Dabouk pumping system located in the valley; 22% comes from wells in Azraq, and from the Zarqa and Mafraq area in the north, through Khaw pumping station; 18% comes from the aquifer in the south and southwest via wells in Qatrana, Swaqa, Qastal and Wala; a small amount comes from a basin adjacent to the wells in Qatrana, located in the region of Kerak to the south of Amman; and the rest is pumped from sources located around Amman itself, principally the springs in Taj, Ruseifa, Ras al-Ayn, Muhajerine and Wadi Sir.

Figure X.7 — Greater Amman Municipality Water Catchment in 2000.

Figure X.7 — Greater Amman Municipality Water Catchment in 2000.

3The total cost of water supply and wastewater treatment in 2003 to provide 150 litres/capita/day was $ 82/person/year. The capital’s water supply comes from the Abdullah Canal in the Jordan Valley. It is pumped from Deir Alla, 200m below sea-level, to Zay station, 889m above sea-level, where it is treated before being pumped into the supply networks of Greater Amman. The country had an average annual bill of up to 225 million JD – until 2003 - to cover expenses in the water sector. Most of the distribution network is over 35 years old and leaks and illegal connections further increase costs.

Privatization with LEMA (1999-2006) and nationalization with Miyahuna (from 2007)

4This was the context for the first private sector delegation contract for the management of Amman’s drinking water in February 1999. The contract was awarded to a consortium called LEMA, involving the Lyonnaise des Eaux, Montgomery Watson (U.S.) and Arabtech Jardaneh. In March 1999 the World Bank granted a loan of US$ 55 million for the contract. With this loan, the Jordanian state payed the operator a fixed payment of eight million dollars over four years, and a variable amount, expressed as a percentage of estimated earnings, profits or withholding and liquidated damages. The company has implemented a program to renovate 85% of wells, pumps and reservoirs, and replace water meters in order to reduce the proportion of unpaid water (lost through leaking pipes or illegal connections).

5The 4-year delegation period was extended twice (in 2003 and 2004) by the Jordanian government and Suez Environnement. It was part of a policy of structural reforms of the national economy, required by the WB and the IMF, and was considered a panacea for solving the crisis in the sector. The LEMA operated in the Amman Governorate, and in some areas of the governorates of Kerak and Balqa, covering an area of 3,000 km² with about two million inhabitants (over 40% of the Jordanian population). However, at the end of the contract, the government preferred to regain control of this strategic resource with the launch of the major Disi and Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal projects.

6In January 2007, the government created Amman’s National Water Company (Miyahuna). The company is run by the Greater Amman Municipality, the Jordan Valley Authority, MOPIC, MWI and the Jordanian Electric Power Company (JEPCO). Yet the laws that govern it are commercial and private and it manages its budget and revenue independently. By reducing leaks and illegal connections, Miyahuna had already reduced the share of unpaid water to 35% of the total in 2011 (compared to 50% previously). Its goal is to reach 25% by 2020. Miyahuna’s second challenge is to increase the duration of water distribution to districts of Amman with Disi water from 2013 onwards.

Table des illustrations

Titre Figure X.6 — Amman Internal Water Resources in 2000.
Fichier image/jpeg, 124k
Titre Figure X.7 — Greater Amman Municipality Water Catchment in 2000.
Fichier image/jpeg, 251k

© Presses de l’Ifpo, 2013

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