Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The ministry of water and the Zerqa River

After feigning ignorance as to the source of sewage flowing into the Zerqa River, the ministry of water and irrigation solved the problem by rebuilding an earthen dam that it had torn down at the beginning of winter. The issue only was solved after the press got involved. The press took three weeks to report the story, and the ministry took three days to fix it after that.

Of course, damming up the sewage behind an earthen dam is not really a solution. The dam was torn down for the winter because the runoff forming after the rains can wash away the poop. Since the winter has been dry thus far, the poop stagnated.

Waiting for the runoff to wash away the problem implies that it will go away. This is not true, as the water ends up in the King Talal Dam. Water in the dam is largely used for irrigation, as it is not good enough for human consumption. This is because of inadequate treatment of wastewater at the Khirbit as Samra plant near Zerqa, as well as the general attitude that the system is open for waste disposal (as the case of the earthen dam displays). I have written more on the issue earlier.

Despite the vital role of the Zerqa River to most of the population of the country, management of the system still seems to be haphazard and minimalist. It is a shame that the ministry of water and irrigation does not seem to appreciate the importance of clean water and of clean rivers. It is also a shame that the ministry is treating the public in such patently poor faith. Of course, this is not the only example.

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