Improving water productivity and livelihoods in the Jordan valley by using recycled wastewater and brackish groundwater in agriculture

  • Research & Development
  • 250.000 project budget
  • Jan 2020 - Sep 2021
  • Partners: EcoPeace, Al Balqa Applied University (BAU), University of Jordan (UJ), NARC
  • Donor: Stichting IHE Delft
  • Donor Programme: DGIS - UNESCO-IHE Programmatic Coorperation II
Middle East and North Africa
Middle East and North Africa

The Jordan Valley is the major production area in Jordan for irrigated crops. Farmers use water from both surface water, groundwater and treated wastewater. This integrated system is managed by the Jordan Valley Authority and the Water Authority of Jordan. However, there are some problems and opportunities to improve the system, for which they are interested to cooperate with IHE and other Jordanian partners. The first problem is that those three water resources are not sufficient in quantity to satisfy the demand from agriculture. Secondly, the efficiency of water use in agriculture (crop per drop) is not optimal. Thirdly, the desalination plants may be running sub-optimal and are only affordable for the larger farmers and therefore may not support livelihoods of smaller farmers. Fourthly, collection systems for wastewater produced in the valley hardly exists and therefore treatment and reuse of the locally produced wastewater is hardly practiced. The project intends to undertake a number of applied research studies with Jordanian universities to support local farmer associations and municipalities to improve water productivity and beneficial use of treated wastewater and/or brackish groundwater. The project’s objective was formulated during the inception workshop (29-31 October 2019) as: Provide Jordan Valley stakeholders with additional knowledge and skills to promote the more efficient and equitable use of recycled wastewater and brackish groundwater in agriculture. As a result planners of JVA and WAJ will have better information on the water productivity in the project area, which they could use to fine-tune their ongoing planning processes. By training farmers to improve water productivity, water productivity in the region is expected to improve. Furthermore, it is expected that the Tal al Mantah and/or North Shuna wastewater treatment plants will be operated more efficiently and a plan for reuse of the effluent from the treatment plant(s) will be presented to stakeholders/planners/decision makers. For this purpose we will engage with the WAJ and if practical, advocate for changes in operation/small repairs. Furthermore the operation of brackish groundwater desalination installations in the study area will improve, in terms of energy consumption and overall efficiency. An integrated assessment of the various water sources and the opportunities and challenges they hold for usages by the different livelihoods, will be described and policy recommendations made.

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