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Area: 5888268 km2
Brazil; Peru; Suriname; France; Colombia; Guyana; Bolivia; Venezuela; Ecuador
Santa Cruz; Manaus; La Paz
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City & Country

Water-Related Challenge Costs

Total annual estimated cost to address all water-related challenges: $905,541,076.00

Share of total annual estimated cost to address each individual challenge (2015 $USD):

  • Access to Drinking Water: $198,909,513.00 - [22%]
  • Access to Sanitation: $277,130,308.00 - [31%]
  • Industrial Pollution: $16,551,733.00 - [2%]
  • Agricultural Pollution: $12,585,531.00 - [1%]
  • Water Scarcity: $249,440,479.00 - [28%]
  • Water Management: $150,923,513.00 - [17%]

For more about this data, see information on WRI’s Achieving Abundance dataset here.

Water Challenges

As reported by organizations on the Hub.

No challenges found.

Country Overview

1.1.1.WATER RESOURCES The average annual precipitation according to the observations made during the last 70 years is around 8.35km3/year, fluctuating from 2.97 (1998/1999) to 17.8km3/year (1966/1967) (Directorate of Planning and Water Resources, 2005). Total internal renewable water resources are estimated at 682 million m3/year. Long-term average internal renewable surface water resources are approximately 485 million m3/year. They reached 533 and 652 million m3 in 2004 and 2005 respectively (Directorate of Planning and Water Resources, 2005). Surface water resources are unevenly distributed among 15 basins. River flows are generally of a flash-flood nature, with large seasonal and annual variation. The largest source of external surface water is the Yarmouk River, which enters from the Syrian Arab Republic after first forming the border with it. It then joins the Jordan River coming from Israel, taking its name. The natural annual flow of the Yarmouk River is estimated at about 400 million m3, of which about 100 million m3 are withdrawn by Israel. However, the total actual flow is much lower at present as a result of the drought and the upstream Syrian development works of the 1980s. The Yarmouk River is the main source of water for the King Abdullah Canal (KAC) and is thus considered to be the backbone of development in the Jordan Valley. A main tributary of the Jordan River, controlled by the King Talal Dam and also feeding the KAC, is the Zarqa River. There are also 6–10 small rivers called “Side Wadis” going from the mountains to the Jordan Valley. Other basins include the Mujib, the Dead Sea, Hasa and Wadi Araba. Jordan’s groundwater is distributed among 12 major basins, 10 of which are renewable groundwater basins and two in the southeast of the country are fossil groundwater aquifers. Total internal renewable groundwater resources have been estimated at 450 million m3/year, of which 253 million m3/year constitute the base flow of the rivers. Groundwater resources are concentrated mainly in the Yarmouk, Amman–Zarqa and Dead Sea basins. The safe yield of renewable groundwater resources is estimated at 275.5 million m3/year. At present most of it is exploited at maximum capacity, in some cases beyond safe yield. Of the 12 groundwater basins, six are being overexploited, four are balanced and two are underexploited. Overexploitation of groundwater resources has degraded water quality and reduced exploitable quantities, resulting in the abandonment of many municipal and irrigation water-well fields, such as in the area of Dhuleil. The main non-renewable aquifer presently exploited is the Disi aquifer (sandstone fossil) in southern Jordan, with a safe yield estimated at 125 million m3/year for 50 years. Other nonrenewable water resources are found in the Jafer Basin, for which the annual safe yield is 18 million m3. The Water Authority of Jordan estimates that the total safe yield of fossil groundwater is 143 million m3/year for 50 years. Ten dams have been constructed in the last five decades with a total capacity of around 275 million m3. The main dam is the King Talal Dam on the Zarqa River, with a total capacity of 80 million m3. The Unity Dam on the Yarmouk River shared between Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic will be completed in 2007 and will have a total reservoir capacity of 110 million m3. All the dams, except the Karamah Dam on Wadi Mallaha, are built on the Side Wadis with their outlets to the Jordan Valley and are used to store floods and base flows, regulate water and release it for irrigation. According to the water annex in the Jordanian–Israeli treaty, a regulating dam was built on the Yarmouk River downstream of the diversion point of KAC. Another dam should be built in the lower water course of the Jordan River on the border between Jordan and Israel. The dam capacity will be 20 million m3. Over the last three decades sewage water networks have been constructed in cities and towns to serve around 70 per cent of the population in Jordan. Twenty-three sewage treatment plants are in operation and the treated wastewater is used in irrigation. More than 80 per cent of sewage water of the Greater Municipality of Amman is treated in four plants and then released into the Zarqa River. The mixed water is then stored in the King Talal Dam reservoir to be used in irrigation in the middle Jordan Valley irrigation schemes (this involves 78 per cent of the treated wastewater). A small quantity (around 9 per cent) is used for irrigation in the Zarqa River catchment area. Treated wastewater from the other plants is used around the plants and/or mixed with surface water to irrigate areas in the Side Wadis. The wastewater entering the treatment plants reached 101.8 and 107.4 million m3 in 2004 and 2005 respectively, while reused treated wastewater in these two years was around 86.4 and 83.5 million m3 respectively. Reused wastewater is an essential element of Jordan’s water strategy. Sewage treated wastewater should be the most important source of water in irrigation in the near future. Under Jordanian law it is forbidden to discharge untreated wastewater into the watercourses or to use it for irrigation. Houses and industries that are not connected to the sewerage network and use cesspools, haul the septic water to existing wastewater treatment plants or to a special dump area. The septic haulers are not closely regulated, and the origins of much of the septic water are not precisely known (MWI, 2002). In 2002, the total installed gross desalination capacity (design capacity) in Jordan was 11,163 m3/day (Wangnick Consulting, 2002). Desalinated water production became significant only in 2005, reaching 10 million m3/year.

1.1.2.WATER USE Water withdrawal varies according to the year. It was around 866 and 941 million m3 in 2004 and 2005 respectively. In 2005, agricultural water withdrawal accounted for 65 per cent of the total Country Overview - Jordan water withdrawal, and water withdrawal for domestic and industrial purposes accounted for 31 and 4 per cent respectively. During periods of water shortage strict measures are taken, such as rationing water allocations and reducing or banning the cultivation of irrigated summer vegetables. Overexploitation of renewable groundwater resources by farmers is a common practice. It reached 158 million m3 in 2002 and in 2003, 147 million m3 in 2004 and 144 million m3 in 2005. Treated wastewater is discharged to open wadis where it flows either to the reuse sites or to dams and is then mixed with rainwater or base flows. Different irrigation methods are used depending on the effluent quality, the type of crops irrigated and the availability of mixing water. Furrow, flooding and localized irrigation methods are used. Sprinkler irrigation is not used, in compliance with the Jordanian standards for reuse from a health point of view. Also, chloride concentration in effluents exceeds the permissible limit for the use of sprinklers, which affects the crops adversely. Although most of the treated wastewater flows by gravity to wadis and reservoirs, effluents from plants are pumped to reuse sites such as Madaba, Aqaba, Kufranja and Ma’an. Part of the effluent from Aqaba and Madaba is disposed of through evaporation when the quantity exceeds agricultural needs. While some factories and industries reuse part of the industrial water on a small scale and mainly for cooling purposes, this water is generally reused for on-site irrigation (MWI, 2002).

1.2.WATER QUALITY, ECOSYSTEMS AND HUMAN HEALTH The development of water resources for irrigation and expansion of the irrigated area, which is cultivated intensively, are causing negative impacts such as: -Soil erosion on steep lands due to heavy rains and flood leads to an increase in sediment loads in the dams/reservoirs and the washing away of fertile top soils in the highlands and the Side Wadis. Heavy silt loads in KAC water resulted on many occasions in a suspension of water pumping in the Deir Alla Amman domestic water supply project during some winter months with heavy rainfall. -Deterioration in the quality of irrigation water is caused by sewage-treated wastewater, particularly in drought years. Improving the treatment process and installing desalination plants are expected to overcome this problem. -Heavy use of pesticides, insecticides and animal (poultry) fertilizer is deteriorating the soil, affecting the quality of agricultural products, mainly vegetables, and causing a fly problem in the Jordan Valley in winter, which is annoying the inhabitants and threatening tourism. -Plastic sheets used in greenhouses and in drip irrigation (mulch) affect the fertility of the soil. -Overexploitation of groundwater due to intensive irrigation reduces the yield of the tube wells and increases pumping costs due to a drop in the water table of the aquifers. -There is a large drop in the water surface in the Dead Sea and a dangerous reduction in its water area. The level of the Dead Sea was said to fall each year by 85cm due to extensive water use in the Jordan Basin. -There is a lack of sewage water networks in towns and villages in the Jordan Valley and other irrigated areas. Houses depend on septic tanks to handle sewage water. On the other hand, some positive impacts of irrigated agriculture include: -access to improved and safe drinking water facilities for the majority of the inhabitants in the Jordan Valley and other irrigated areas; -expansion of the green cover; -production of fresh vegetables all year round; -increase in the socioeconomic standard of people in the Jordan Valley due to the integrated development plan carried out by JVA in that region. Much of Amman’s wastewater treated effluent is discharged in the Zarqa River and is impounded by the King Talal Dam, where it is blended with fresh floodwater and subsequently released for irrigation use in the Jordan Valley. The increased supply of water to Jordan’s cities came about at the expense of spring flows discharging into such streams as the Zarqa River, Wadi Shueib, Wadi Karak, Wadi Kufrinja and Wadi Arab. The flow of freshwater in these streams was reduced as a result of increased pumping from the aquifers and the flow was replaced with the effluent of treatment plants, a process that transformed the ecological balance over time (MWI, 2002). Contaminated water is a source of many human infections, causing diarrhoea and other diseases. In Jordan, the most common parasite causing diarrhoea is Entamoeba histolyca, while Salmonella and Shigella are the most common bacteria. Naturally, children are more exposed to such infections than adults.

(Water Risk Filter) 

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Organizations in Jordan

AKYAS is a sanitation start-up registered in Jordan. We provide an innovative, low-cost and easily deployable non-sewered sanitation system. The mission of AKYAS is to bring low-cost safely managed sanitation to the base of the pyramid population regionally and globally, … Learn More

We are committed to conducting our business in an environmentally responsible manner, supporting the long-term health of the planet, the success of customers and our people. Our environmental sustainability strategy aims to drive climate action throughout our value chain, use … Learn More

Clean drinking water, safe toilets and good hygiene are essential, and yet in rural Kenya, too many children and communities lack these services. Our mission is to change this. We use the 3Ts - Taps, Toilets and Training. Our Mission … Learn More

Flocean AS is dedicated to revolutionizing the desalination industry by deploying innovative subsea reverse osmosis systems that produce affordable and sustainable freshwater. Our main purpose is to offer eco-friendly, cost-effective solutions for freshwater supply. We are utilizing the naturally pressurized … Learn More

Support and develop Pakistan as a central hub for developing a sustainable supply chain ecosystem with Halal standards. Making Pakistan a well-known Halal international hub that aligning United Nation’s 17 sustainable goals and promotes WAQF from Halal culture to contribute … Learn More

Projects in Jordan

Since 2016 the Toilet Board Coalition’s accelerator program has been supporting entrepreneurs with bespoke mentorship, partnership and the visibility to scale their sanitation economy businesses. More than toilets alone, we look for commercially viable businesses across the sanitation economies – … Learn More

To strengthen global portfolio experience sharing and learning, dialogue facilitation, targeted knowledge sharing and replication in order to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of GEF IW projects to deliver tangible results in partnership with other IW initiatives.Project ResultsThe GEF increment … Learn More

Project WET is currently active in more than 75 countries around the world through a network of partner organizations that range from small NGOs to major international corporations and organizations. We only go where we’re invited! We work with our … Learn More

This project will conduct a WASH Needs and Stakeholder analysis Assisting in a case study on remote WASH interventions Learn More

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