Jordan has a land area of approximately 89’000 km2 while the area of water bodies amounts to about 500 km2 These includes both the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. Jordan has three distinct ecological zones comprising the Jordan Valley located below the sea level with warm winters and hot summers; the western highlands and the arid and semi-arid inland to the east. The altitude in Jordan ranges from about –415 m (below sea level) at the surface of the Dead Sea up to 1’845 m. In the year 2012, the total population of Jordan exceeded 6’5 million.

Larger map

Jordan has annual economic growth rates ranging between 4% and 8 % but is poor when it comes to energy resources. Jordan has limited primary energy resources and depends to a large extent on imported petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas form neighboring countries. Therefore Jordan’s energy supply is highly dependent and very vulnerable. Due to high population growth, economic development and climate change Jordan’s energy demand continues to rise. Electricity contributes about 74% to Jordan’s total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

The Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) is the responsible lead institution for the financing, management and operation of water supply and wastewater services in the country. The operation and the management of water supply in Jordan has been a business sector that was in the past completely controlled by MWI/WAJ. In recent years the commercialisation and participation of private sector companies in the operation and management of water supply has been an important element of MWI's water sector strategy. As a result of the initiated reform process in recent years, some of the management and operation responsibilities have already been delegated to independent water companies, the Jordan Water Company / Miyahuna and the Aqaba Water Company. The Northern Governorates Water Administration (NGWA) is currently in the process of being corporatized. The water and wastewater services in all other governorates are still under the direct guidance and control of WAJ.

Skyline of Amman, Jordan

In addition Jordan suffers from a severe shortage of water. The country’s water strategy for the period 2008 – 2022 states that Jordan is the fourth driest country in the world. The scarcity of water in Jordan is the single most important constraint to the country’s growth and development because water is not only a decisive factor for food production but also very crucial for social and economic development. The annual per capita water availability has declined from 3,600 m3/a in the year 1946 to 145 m3/a in the year 2008, which is far below the international water poverty line of 500 m3/a.

In order to counterbalance the negative impact of climate change on water, the Jordanian Government has initiated programs on water loss reduction, water conservation, groundwater monitoring and reuse of treated wastewater for agricultural purposes. The present Water Strategy of Jordan, entitled “Water for Life” was approved in May 2009 and mainly focuses on effective water demand management, water resources development and effective water supply operations. This also implies an efficient and systematic reduction of energy costs.

Pumping StationWAJ is the largest electricity consumer in the country, using about 15% of Jordan’s entire electricity production. In addition to high costs, this leads to large quantities of greenhouse gas emissions, for Jordan’s power supply is based almost exclusively on fossil fuels. The hydraulic conditions in Jordan imply that fresh water resources need to be lifted 1,400 meters from the Jordan Valley to reach the consumers in the cities, which requires a large amount of energy. Electricity accounts for a major share in the operation costs of the WAJ. In fact 25-35% of total operation costs in analysed governorates are electricity costs. All over Jordan, WAJ spends more than 70 Mio. Euro annually on electricity. This figure underlines the financial implications of efficiency improvements.

Due to its strategic importance and the large carbon footprint, the water-energy-nexus holds a lot of potential for improvements in the water and energy sector. Electricity consumption produces about 74% of Jordan’s total Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG).

As outlined in “Jordan’s Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC, 2009)”, the Jordanian Government gives high priority to energy efficiency in all relevant sectors. In particular, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation has identified energy saving for water pumping and other water sector related activities as a priority.

Although priorities and strategies exist on the policy level, they are not reflected and do not seem to have an effect on the status quo specifically for water pumping in the country. There are no mandatory policies or regulations targeting improvements in the energy efficiency of water pumping.

Key barriers to demand-side energy efficiency are:

  1. Lack of knowledge of the benefits of energy efficiency;
  2. Lack of expertise to develop energy efficiency projects;
  3. High initial implementation costs;
  4. Low and partially subsidized tariffs for energy; and
  5. Lack of suitable financing mechanisms and a consistent institutional framework for the development of energy efficiency and projects by the private sector.

Getting the Private Sector on Board

The creation of the Aqaba Water Company in 2004 and the Jordan Water Company - Miyahuna in 2007 in the form of limited liability national companies, operating under a mandate agreement with the Water Authority of Jordan, can be considered a first step in the Jordanian water sector to outsource management and operation responsibilities to independent bodies with the objective of improving service quality and reliability, optimising revenues, costs structures as well as monitoring and documentation processes. The GIZ led private sector participation projects (PSP), such as the ones in Madaba and Karak, are further supporting the integration of private sector competences into the Jordanian water sector.

Therefore today multiple public companies are active in the sector and the Jordanian Government is planning on further developing its  privatisation approach and promoting private sector involvement. To this end, WAJ and MWI, with the support of GIZ, are proceeding with the implementation of Private Sector Participation projects (PSP) which envisage the engagement of Jordanian and/or international private sector companies. The IEE Programme provides institutional support and crucial incentives to advance the cause of energy efficiency and actual implementation of related measures.

Although the Jordanian private sector was offering services such as energy and water auditing, engineering, design, monitoring services, construction/installation management, contracting, operations, maintenance, repairs and other services related to the aims and goals of the IEE Programme, no economically viable business models were available for services linked to energy efficiency and the private sector was very reluctant to get involved.

 Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit Development Coooperation: Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan -  Feredal Republik of Germany Germany's Clilmate Initiative - Climate protection pays off! Jordan Water Authority Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH