AMMAN — The Aqaba Water Company and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Thursday signed an agreement worth $33.3 million to implement the Fixed Amount Reimbursement Agreement (FARA) 8 project, aimed to improve water supply in the southern region.

The four-year agreement, signed by Aqaba Water Company Director General Khaled Al Obaidyn and Head of USAID Office of Water Resources and Environment Andrew Lecken, aims at upgrading water networks’ infrastructure and cutting water loss by 20 per cent, in addition to supporting the Aqaba Water Company’s efforts to ensure efficient use of resources, according to a ministry statement.

The Water Ministry has recently endorsed a USAID-funded strategic plan, to reduce water loss to less than 25 per cent, said Water Minister Mohammed Najar, voicing appreciation of the US’ “unceasing support” for the Kingdom.

The USAID offered $26.453 million in support of the project, while the Aqaba Water Company contributed with $6.926 million, he said.

Secretary General of Water Authority Bashar Bataineh said that the agreement entails the preparation of a new infrastructure plan, conducting a hydraulic study to reduce water loss, and increasing the capacity of the Disi water pipeline to 12 million cubic metres (mcm) per year to be able to take in water quantities provided by the National Water Carrier Project.

A new pipeline will be introduced to enhance water supply, in addition to building a new pump station and rehabilitating four wells in Disi to enhance their production capacity by 25 per cent, he added, forecasting that the new project would help in pumping an additional 3mcm to houses and cutting energy costs by 10 per cent.

Commending the USAID support, Bataineh said that water loss in the Aqaba Special Economic Zone is expected to go down by 20 per cent, saving 900,000cm a year.

The new agreement is part of a series of deals offered by the USAID to help Jordan face water challenges and support the water strategy of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation.

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