An integrated Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems solution to benefit farms in Salt Governorate in Jordan
9 May 2023, Amman. The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), Sweden and the Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP-Med) inaugurated integrated technical solutions for sustainable agriculture in Salt Governorate, in Jordan. These involve reuse of treated wastewater from Wadi Shuayb Wastewater Treatment Plant for irrigation, after its tertiary treatment through constructed wetlands, with pumping powered by renewable solar energy, and climate-resilient planting.
The Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus represents an effective approach to addressing the climate change crisis that is casting its shadow on Jordan with recurrent droughts and rising temperatures. This interconnectedness was translated into action by the MENA Water Matchmaker II project which was implemented by the GWP-Med and funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the UfM in Jordan and Palestine, in a cross-country context.
At the core of the MENA Water Matchmaker 2 project is the implementation of two demonstrable and scalable technical WEFE Nexus interventions in Jordan and Palestine whereby the treated wastewater which flows into the Wadis is pumped using renewable solar energy to irrigate nearby farmlands. The MENA Water Matchmaker 2 Project has aimed to prove, hence, through piloting, the integrated concept of applying local WEFE Nexus technical solutions while capacitating beneficiary groups on employment options, offering measurable and scalable contributions for further application in MENA countries.
Local farmers, women in the water sector association and several scientific and management institutions have been part of this inauguration and will be the recipients of a training programme that aims at showcasing nature-based solutions for water treatment and irrigation reuse, powered by renewable energy.
The Swedish Ambassador in Amman, Alexandra Rydmark, said during the inauguration that “Jordan and the countries of the region suffer from water scarcity, in addition to the harsh effects of climate change, which will make us face more challenges in the future.” Therefore, “there is a need to use every drop of water by finding ways that can ensure it is more efficiently used than before, which has been translated into this project,” she added. Ambassador Rydmark noted that “Jordan is one of the leading and pioneering countries in the field of using treated wastewater in the region, thus serving as a model at both the regional and international levels.”
UfM Deputy Secretary General, Almotaz Abadi, noted that “Jordan is a centre of interest because it faces intense water stress, and this drives us to work with development partners to ensure that funding is mobilized on implementing priority projects of value for the Kingdom.” Abadi explained that “the project links the water, energy, environmental systems and food security sectors, which positively reflect on the local community by creating more job opportunities for its members, while raising awareness about the importance of treated wastewater and its uses.” He stressed the need to “integrate the approach of WEFE Nexus within the policies adopted by the government and in implementing integrated water treatment projects and other sustainable solutions on the ground.”
Mohammed Al Dwairi, Assistant Secretary General at the Ministry of Water & Irrigation described the steps taken by Jordan on integrated approaches with WEFE Nexus increasingly been in the focus, noting the alignment and contribution of the interventions in Salt into national policies.
Mohammed Al Hyari, Mayor of Salt, welcomed the contributions of the project and wished more such interventions to take place for the benefit of farmers in the area and in the country.
“The works inaugurated today are a vivid example of the link between the four WEFE sectors within a single work approach aiming at tangible results”, Prof. Michael Scoullos, GWP-Med Chair said. However, “working on a wastewater recycling project is challenging, because the concept of using treated wastewater is not always acceptable to local community members,” he noted. Despite this, “three interventions were completed in the Salt area, Wadi Shuayb, and another three in Palestine, in Sa’ir-Hebron, and we are working with local communities striving to expand the dissemination of these technical solutions in other countries of the region.”
Ghazi Abu Rumman, GWP-Med Director of Jordan Operations, gave an overview of the project and its objectives, which can be summarised as “using treated wastewater and nature based solutions for irrigation, benefiting from solar energy infrastructure which contributes to reducing the carbon footprint, and increasing water efficiency for agricultural production.