Access to the country’s limited water resources by communities in the Jordan Valley and major cities will be improved under new investment backed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) confirmed in Amman.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the European Investment Bank formally agreed a new €70 million loan that supports a comprehensive investment programme to reduce water losses, increase supply of drinking water including in Amman and Irbid, and alleviate water shortages hindering agriculture in the Jordan valley.
The latest EIB financing for water investment in Jordan was announced in Amman by H.E. Nasser Shraideh Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, H.E. Mohammad Najjar, Minister of Water and Irrigation, H.E. Maria Hadjitheodosiou, the European Union Ambassador to Jordan, H.E. Manar Al-Mahasneh, Secretary General of the Jordan Valley Authority and Souad Farsi EIB representative in Jordan.
During the online briefing Minister Shraideh emphasised the valuable technical and financial support provided by the EIB as a development partner for the Kingdom, noting that the Bank has provided soft financing over the past years for projects in key sectors including industry, energy, education, water and sanitation, transport, private sector development and infrastructure.
The new EUR 70 million financing will support EUR 109 million of comprehensive new investment to improve water use in the Jordan Valley
“The European Investment Bank is committed to improving access to water and enabling better use of scarce water resources in Jordan in cooperation with Jordanian and international partners. The new EUR 70 million financing will support EUR 109 million of comprehensive new investment to improve water use in the Jordan Valley. The latest EIB engagement demonstrates Team Europe’s firm support for the Government of Jordan’s Water Sector Strategy and increased financing has been enabled as part of the EIB Adaptation Plan.” said Gelsomina Vigliotti, Vice President of the European Investment Bank responsible for lending operations in Jordan.
"This project is a top priority for the Government of Jordan and demonstrates Team Europe's commitment and substantial support for high-impact water investment and reform in Jordan. The new EIB financing, guaranteed by the European Union, will help to substantially reduce water losses and contribute to a more resilient and efficient supply of water in Jordan. This is critical to respond to the impact of climate change in the country and is in line with supporting a green and resilient recovery and the external dimension of the European Green Deal," said H.E. Maria Hadjitheodosiou, the European Union Ambassador to Jordan.
The new investment will help to reduce the social and economic impact of water shortages in Jordan, which faces one of the lowest levels of fresh water availability per capita in the world, increased demand and unsustainable use of groundwater resources.
Investing to strengthen resilience to climate change and increased water demand
Jordan is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world. The country faces one of the lowest levels of fresh water availability per capita in the world and Jordan’s renewable water supply currently only meets about half of the population’s water demands, with groundwater being used twice as quickly as it can be replaced.
High population growth and the influx of refugees from regional conflicts has put additional strain on an already stressed water supply, while changing rain patterns threaten to exacerbate the problem.
Sustainable and inclusive access to safe drinking water is critical to the country’s long-term stability and prosperity.
The new EIB backed investment will help Jordan’s water supply to adapt to a changing and more uncertain climate.
Climate change and changing precipitation patterns in the region are having a significant impact on water availability in the country, which affects agricultural productivity and other livelihoods depending on natural resources.
By helping to improve the efficiency of water conveyance and irrigation infrastructure in the Jordan valley the new project will allow more efficient management of limited water resources.
The initiative will both reduce water loss in agriculture and increase supply of fresh drinking water benefitting people living in the Jordan Valley as well as helping to addressing shortages in urban centres including Amman and Irbid.
Building on record EIB support for water investment in Jordan
The new EIB loan follows agreement of the EIB’s streamlined €260 million Jordan Water Sector Framework Loan, the largest ever EIB support for water investment in the Middle East and Southern Mediterranean, in 2020. This nationwide project is currently being implemented.
The European Investment Bank is the world’s largest international public bank and largest financier for water investment globally.
This new EIB financing is part of the EIB’s broader engagement supporting water investment in Jordan, which has been gradually increasing over recent years in the context of the Economic Resilience Initiative. In 2019, EIB signed a €65 million loan and €16.25 million-investment grant for the Deir Alla Water and Sanitation project.
Over the last 37 years the EIB has provided more than EUR 708 million for water investment across Jordan.
EU support to the water sector in Jordan
The EU is fully supporting the water sector reform and infrastructure in Jordan with a focus on water efficiency, reduction of water losses and fresh water savings as crucial issues in Jordan.
The ongoing EU bilateral support to the Water and Wash sector in terms of grants to Jordan (including under the response to the Syrian crises envelope) amounts to over €150 million, leveraging over €500 million of investment. This is complemented by other EU supported regional projects and activities.
In the future, the EU will continue to support substantially the water sector in Jordan, including via its new support to green economy to Jordan for 2021-2025.
Team Europe backing long-term water investment in Jordan
The project also contributes to the objectives of the Team Europe Initiative in the water sector in Jordan and is co-financed with German development bank KfW and the EU Neighbourhood Investment Platform (NIP).
The new financing is part of the EIB’s External Lending Mandate and guaranteed by the European Union.