AMMAN — The water sector in Jordan aims to grow investments in the upcoming years, with a focus on domestic investment, the recent National Economic Workshop session heard on Saturday.

As the National Economic Workshop continues at the Royal Hashemite Court, water sector experts, representatives, academics and officials discussed the key points of the sector’s vision and possible growth opportunities.

The water sector’s strategic plan aims to create more than one million new and sustainable income opportunities, attendees were told.

Khaldoun Shatanawi, director of Water, Energy and Environment Centre at the University of Jordan, said that the sector’s main current investment is the National Water Carrier Project.

“The National Water Carrier Project is currently under evaluation and we agreed that its implementation needs seven years… It is impossible to make it shorter as some suggested, due to engineering prospects,” Shatanawi told The Jordan Times during an interview on Saturday.

He highlighted that the sector needs more investment in operations for water waste management plans, which would treat waste water that could later be sold for agriculture purposes.

“Using sludge as a fertiliser is currently under research in Jordan, as there are certain restrictions which do not approve of its usage, however, it has been scientifically proven that it does no harm, and some countries, such as Egypt, use it,” Shatanawi said, noting that using sludge would be a good step further to save water.

According to Shatanawi, other options were also discussed during the workshop, such as increasing water pumping from the Disi Water Conveyance project, which pumps 100 million cubic metres of water per year.

“We are aiming to put a plan to increase its pumping capacity to 120 million cubic metres per year, which will not add much to the operating cost, making it a quick win,” he said.

“Our meeting today has been mainly to review everything we have discussed so far in the last five meetings, shedding light on strengths, challenges, solutions, suggestions and to prioritise how to come up with a roadmap for the next 10 years,” Shatanawi added.

He noted that the plan will focus on the “doable measures”, taking into account that there are key performance indicators (KPIs) to be measured and the plan needs continuous monitoring regarding what is accomplished through the years.

“The water sector in Jordan has competent and experienced staff which must be retained in order to continuously improve the sector, we need capacity building, such as providing training in specific fields, providing higher education as well as attracting talent,” Shatanawi said.

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