The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) signed an agreement with the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation to channel EU grants and help the Water Authority of Jordan to modernise and enhance the water and wastewater management sector in Jordan.
The European Union (EU) is providing a grant of €30 million that is co-financed by a €41.3 million loan from the EBRD for the construction of a greenfield wastewater treatment facility in Al Ghabawi on the outskirts of the capital, Amman. The new facility will replace the existing one in Ain Ghazal, which is harming the environment and causing a nuisance to the surrounding communities.
The Al Ghabawi facility will treat septage collected from areas in Amman that are not connected to the sewerage network. This will help eliminate odour, noise pollution and traffic problems due to septic tank truck movements around the current facility in Ain Ghazal.
Jordan is one of the world’s poorest countries in terms of water resources, and dry climate conditions have created severe water shortages. And with the country’s population continuing to grow rapidly, alongside the influx of 1.3 million Syrians living outside of refugee camps, there is unprecedented stress on existing infrastructure and municipal capacities.
The new wastewater treatment facility will have a capacity of 22,500 cubic metres a day, which will not only replace the existing facility but also provide improved wastewater and sanitation services in the northern municipalities, where services are lacking in capacity and quality.
The financing will also help provide on-site training and employment opportunities for up to 100 unemployed youth and women in the community while the facility is being built.
The agreement was signed in the presence of EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Zeina Toukan, Minister of Water and Irrigation, Mohamed Al Najjar and EU Ambassador to Jordan, Maria Hadjitheodosiou.
President Renaud-Basso said: “We are very proud to support the government of Jordan in improving and increasing the capacity of Jordan’s wastewater services through the construction of the Al Ghabawi septic tank facility. This investment will not only provide better services for households not connected to the main system, but it will also support the country’s resilience to the refugee crisis through additional infrastructure capacity while mitigating environmental harm in the surrounding communities.”
European Union Ambassador to Jordan, Maria Hadjitheodosiou said: “The Al-Ghabawi wastewater project is not only a wastewater treatment facility; it will set an example on resources’ efficiency and combine the possibility to exploit sludge further in waste-to-energy, as well as the possibility for contributing to composting… Such projects contribute to the improvement of the lives of people living in these communities, and offer opportunities for training and employment, in addition to contributing to Jordan’s efforts for meet its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in climate change action.”
Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Zeina Toukan said: “I would like to sincerely thank the EBRD for the concessional support extended to this priority project. I would also like to thank the EU for offering this significant grant of €30 million, which provides a more flexible and speedy response to the urgent needs to support investment projects. Indeed, EBRD in Jordan has been a true success story, which translated into concrete projects on the ground supporting key sectors and areas in Jordan.”
Since the start of its operations in Jordan in 2012, the EBRD has invested more than €1.9 billion in the country through 71 projects. Under the EBRD’s Municipal Resilience Refugee Response Framework, a total of €180 million of EBRD financing and €130 million in grants has been mobilised to date. The Bank’s priority in Jordan is to support sustainable energy, finance private enterprises and promote infrastructure reform.