Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Disi project

The shortage of water in Jordan has become a major concern to both the government and to average citizens. The official numbers tell us that the total consumption of water in the country is about 1300 million cubic meters (with a deficit of about 220 MCM). Of this, about 276 MCM is destined for domestic use, and the majority of the rest used in agriculture. In 2003, 96 MCM was designated for Amman.

Now, the government target for domestic purposes is about 200 liters per day per capita. Given a population of 5.3 million, this works out about 365 million, whereas the current supply averages 143 liters per day per capita.

While we currently get by using this volume of water, the question that is unanswered concerns the long term sustainability of the current system, given increased requirements posed by population growth and increased demands by tourism and industry.

The Disi conveyor system has been discussed intensively over the last ten years, and is considered to be one of the answers to the vexing question of water supply in Jordan. As it is envisioned, the project will supply about 100 MCM per year to Amman. What is delaying the project is the question of economic viability. The financial aspects have gone through much review, with the final decision being made to use government funds to build the project. This decision was made because the project is not tempting from a financial perspective. The supply is expected to last about 50 years (Al Rai's report says 40 in the middle of the article and 100 at the end, with no effort to explain the discrepancy). Eventually, the fossil water from the aquifer will run out.

So, the question is how badly do we need this project. We are still reading reports that the amount of leakage from the distribution is 50% in Amman, and 64% in Mafraq. In numbers, this suggests leakage of 140 MCM per year in Jordan. This number is greater than the amount slated to be pumped from Disi.

Now, the most important question to ask is whether the increased supply of expensive water pumped from over 300 km away will translate into more water for people? Specifically, since the distribution system leaks so much, will the new water supply simply slip away after we get it? Moreover, how expensive could it be to stop the leakage from the system? Estimates suggest that it is highly cost effective to invest here, and I would guess that it would be a better bargain than the Disi project. Every time water is pumped through the distribution systems, I see rivers of water flowing down the street. Nobody notices, and the Water Authority (or Lima) doesn't seem to care less.

I am not against the Disi project in itself. I just hope that we don't spend all this money just to have this precious water leak through our distribution system. The same goes for all the other water supply projects that are being implemented.

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6 Comments:

At 2:32 AM, Blogger jameed said...

Being away from Jordan, I have been out of touch with this topic for a while now except for fragmented pieces of news about it every once in a blue moon. Now correct me if I am wrong, last I remember, Qaddafi flew in the desert and we dined and wined him in custom made tents that rumor had it he brought with him to the Jordanian desert. Then he us paid a lump sum of cash for the project. We celebrated the effort of our sister in North Africa and we convinced ourselves that every word The Colonel utters (including that Shakespeare is an Arab whose name is Sheikh Zubeir) is true. Now what happened to the Libyan money and the project that was supposedly "under way"?

 
At 2:33 AM, Blogger jameed said...

Being away from Jordan, I have been out of touch with this topic for a while now except for fragmented pieces of news about it every once in a blue moon. Now correct me if I am wrong, last I remember, Qaddafi flew in the desert and we dined and wined him in custom made tents that rumor had it he brought with him to the Jordanian desert. Then he us paid a lump sum of cash for the project. We celebrated the effort of our sister in North Africa and we convinced ourselves that every word The Colonel utters (including that Shakespeare is an Arab whose name is Sheikh Zubeir) is true. Now what happened to the Libyan money and the project that was supposedly "under way"?

 
At 6:18 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Hi Jameed: He didn't pay. He said he would give us half the pipes for free.

http://www.jordanembassyus.org/06052000002.htm

He got the royal treatment he wanted, then reneged.

http://www.mathaba.net/news/news1/z1007mqjordan.html

Numerous attempts to make him pay up have failed, apparantly.

Where's the straight jacket?

 
At 6:46 AM, Blogger jameed said...

Ikhs 3al rjal!

 
At 11:19 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

مية قلبة و لا غلبة

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger Radi Radi said...

He actually offered to give us half the pipes in pipes that were manufactured in Libya for the great artificial river, but we have to buy the second half from Libya at rates which aren't feasable, basically i gave you half, you buy second half at double so we call it even

 

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