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Making water conservation a way of life, Part 1: Domestic Water Demand Management in Jordan

By: Max
November 23, 2011

This is the first blog of a series of blogs, which explore issues of water demand management in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories, looking at water saving options in the domestic and agricultural sector. This first entry about domestic water demand management in Jordan was written by Arielle Levinson, FoEME intern at the Amman office.

 The water supply in Jordan is significantly less than it is in many other countries around the world. Jordan is placed at fourth as one of the worlds most water poor countries. The Lower Jordan River Basin is incredibly important natural resource since it’s waters including that of the Yarmouk provides an estimated 80% of Jordan’s water resources. For this reason, FoEME conducted an economic analysis of policy opportunities to conserve water which aims at providing the decision makers with tools to make strategic water savings in Jordan.

The study identified a series of policy opportunities to reduce consumption in both the agriculture and domestic sectors. Some of the most effective ways that every Jordanian can help to save water is to reduce the use of household water when flushing the toilet, bathing, dishwashing, doing laundry, gardening… The amount of water per person per day is about 96 liters. With the cost of water being about JD 0.480 per m³, most Jordanians want to decrease the amount of water that they use.

In its study, FoEME states different methods for preserving water and outlines the cost of water saving alternatives. Relatively small costs are required to change behavior and raise awareness and encourage Jordanians to adopt ‘wise water plants’ in their private gardens. The public in Jordan is adapt at implementing low cost water saving strategies. Many of these strategies are widely practiced across Jordan. To save water from showering, many Jordanians catch water in a bowl while the water heats, then use that water for watering the plants.

An estimated 1/3 of all fresh water used in the house is flushed down the toilet! To reduce this amount of water, toilet paper is placed in the trashcan next to the toilet instead of inside the toilet. This practices water is being saved because less pressure and water is needed to flush the toilet. In the kitchen, rather than allowing the tap to run continually while washing dishes, most Jordanians wash dishes in a bowl of soapy water, cleaning all dishes then running water to rinse off the soap.

These strategies for water conservation are practiced throughout Jordan, passed down from the older generation to the younger generation. These habits are great for the environment and help every drop of water count in this water stressed region!

In addition to conventional water conservation strategies, Jordanians save even more water by installing dual flush toilets and reusing grey water in their houses. Since this is currently not affordable for a large part of Jordanian population, the Jordanian government should be at least partially subsidizing such undertakings.

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