News & Current Affairs

Eco-facilities in the Jordan Rift Valley

By: Ecopeace Middle East
September 5, 2013

Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) launched an initiative to develop a number of eco-facilities at local schools as an important component for the Good Water Neighbors Youth project. Eco-facilities serve to showcase water conservation techniques and educate communities on ecological building practices. In Jordan, eco-facilities have been constructed in all eight Good Water Neighbor communities: Hemma, Muaz bin Jabal, Tabkat Fahal, Sharhabil bin Hassneh, Deir Alla, South Shouneh, South Ghors (Ghor Al Mazra’a) and Ghour Fifa.

Projects in these communities have focused largely on environmental education and awareness, using recycled materials in constructions, and implementing techniques for water efficiency such as grey water reuse and rain water harvesting. Each community is fitted with outdoor seating areas which may be used as an outdoor classroom. The community coordinator and youth Water Trustees are involved in the construction of eco-facilities, thereby developing the necessary skills to raise awareness of environmental issues and replicate constructions across their community.

One of the schools that set a model to be emulated is Zanoubia Girls’ School located in South Ghors, in a town near the Dead Sea in Jordan.

South Ghor “Zanoubia Girls’ School”

Design and implementation of the project was led by consultant William Alajalian,

Zanoubia Girls’ School
Zanoubia Girls’ School

while work was carried out with the help of the community coordinator and water trustees. The team emphasized project sustainability by training local youth, students and staff on grey water irrigation, rain water harvesting and landscaping.

Work proceeded as follows:

  1. Instillation of a grey water network: Water from drinking fountains, wash basins and the kitchen lead to the garden area through underground piping. Valves made from recycled buckets, pipes and a Y connector are placed at 2.6 m intervals to irrigate trees directly at roots. This system recycles an estimated 240,000 L of water per year.
  2. Rain water harvesting: This project will be implemented over time to collect water from building roofs, pavement area and  surrounding grounds. Water will be guided to strategic areas for storage in soil using swales and basin catchment methods.
  3. Landscaping: Landscaping was designed to provide shade, edible and nutritious plants and enhance the local ecology. This is accomplished through a mixture of drought tolerant, nitrogen fixing, shade providing and food producing trees with access to the grey water system, rainwater and dry lands irrigation.

    Zanoubia School
    Zanoubia School

Future plans include:

1. The use of a second rain water harvesting technique that is based along contours.

2. Development of a small tree nursery.

For more information about our Eco-Facilities in the Jordan Rift Valley, visit our homepage at

This post was contributed by FoEME’s Good Water Neighbours’ Project Assistant  Abdullah Dreiat & intern Brittany Ajroud at the Amman office.

Revised and edited by FoEME’s Media Officer & Project Coordinator Samar M. Salma at the Amman Office.

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