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Water self-reliance remains elusive

May 22,2018 - Last updated at May 22,2018

Despite efforts by the government to address the problem of water shortage in the country by making huge investments on mega projects and improved water management of existing sources, the goal of becoming self-reliant in this vital area remains elusive and probably a distant mirage.

The reason is obvious: every time Jordan gets closer to partly addressing the water crisis in the country, external factors intervene, this time in the form of the exodus of 1.3 million refugees from their homeland to Jordan seeking safety.

These huge numbers of Syrian refugees have more than taxed the once-promising new plans to solve the problem. Minister of Water and Irrigation Ali Ghezawi said on Sunday that Jordan has spent more than JD3 billion between 2013-2018 to improve its water infrastructure, but the gap between demand and supply continues to grow.

The migration of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees to Jordan took a heavy toll on the country's water resources, said Ghezawi, who did not mince his words when he said that the "Syrian exodus has fatigued us".

The international community continues to disregard this awesome responsibility on Jordan in all fields, including water. The government, the minister added, launched in 2017 the 2017-2019 plan to cope with the acute water shortage at a cost of $658 million, but what the Kingdom received from the international community has not exceed $52 million amounting to only 30 per cent of the needed money, at a time when the Syrian refugees crisis is an international problem.

On the other part of the equation, there continues to be considerable water theft and water waste going on. Government efforts to plug these two hemorrhages remain incomplete and need the cooperation of the public, who should cut down on wasting water and reporting water theft cases.

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