Better water and wastewater conditions in Zarq

November 13, 2016
Better Water and Wastewater conditions in Zarqa
Petra - The governorate of Zarqa has witnessed a quantum leap in the efficiency of its water and wastewater networks, which has contributed to the improvement of the quality of life for a large number of citizens, and to the reduction of their difficulties from problems related to water supplies on the one hand, and the inefficiency of the wastewater services and the associated environmental problems on the other.  This relief came as a result of the cooperation between the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, the Water Authority and other agencies.  MCC directed its projects in the Kingdom within the city of Zarqa, which is considered the largest city in Jordan after the capital and the most densely populated, in addition to the city of Russeifa and a large number of municipalities, village groups and rural and agricultural areas. The projects implemented by MCC in the Zarqa governorate represent a development plan through the provision of work and vocational training opportunities for a number of local women, in addition to the upgrading of the water and wastewater network in the governorate's cities, increasing its efficiency to serve citizens economically and socially.
Engineer Kamal Zou'bi, CEO of of Millennium Challenge Account – Jordan (MCA-Jordan), the company owned by the government of Jordan to implement the U.S. funded projects, said in an interview with the Jordan News Agency - Petra that the efficiency of potable water and its networks in Zarqa has increased after the planning and implementation of a number of projects by the Millennium Challenge Program over the past five years, as part of an overall grant of $275 million. He added that the projects executed by MCA-Jordan  in the Zarqa governorate have contributed to reducing waste and improving the provision of water to citizens, as well as improving the effectiveness and capacity of the wastewater network. This is in addition to providing about 3000 direct full-time job opportunities for Jordanians in various fields, including engineers, supervisors, workers and drivers, contributing directly to the development of the governorate's economy. He pointed out that the program has implemented a number of integrated projects, including the water network project, which aimed to improve the efficiency of water provision to homes and businesses through the restructuring and rehabilitation of about 800 kilometers of water networks in the cities of Zarqa and Russeifa, building a reservoir and a pumping station in the Al-Basateen area of Russeifa and replacing 50,000 water meters. This project, which cost $82 million, also worked at reducing the water waste level in the governorate and increasing water supply hours from 36 to 72 hours a week, according to Engineer Zou'bi. All field works for this project have been completed and the network has been built. 
Furthermore, the Water Smart Homes-Activity, a project at the household level and considered part of the water network project, has also been concluded at a cost of $6.5 million, with the aim of improving and rectifying the state of water systems inside the houses in the Zarqa governorate, benefiting in particular low-income families by increasing water and wastewater efficiency in homes. Zou'bi stated that the project has achieved its objectives through three main activities.; the first was an awareness campaign with the slogan "By Water We Live… We Preserve it to Survive." Twelve women’s associations in the cities of Zarqa and Russeifa cooperated to conduct awareness sessions that reached approximately 3000 women. Sessions were also held at 225 schools in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, including 33,000 male and female students. Six hundred awareness sessions for 11,000 women were also held by female preachers in cooperation with the Ministry of Awqaf, and another 4,000 sessions were held at beneficiary homes from the National Aid Fund, while 20 sessions were held at tribal meeting places. In total, awareness campaigns reached 60,000 people directly, and were supported through promotional activities such as billboards and social media. Activities within this project included the repair and upgrading of water and wastewater systems inside 4,000 homes of beneficiaries from the National Aid Fund, as well as a plumbing program for women that trained 30 women, held in cooperation with the Vocational Training Corporation. These women had practical training with MCA-Jordan’s contractors, and later undertook workshops to improve their capacities in establishing, managing and marketing small projects. 
Among the most important projects implemented in the Zarqa governorate is the wastewater networks project, at a cost of $73 million, to replace and restructure main wastewater lines and expand lateral sewers in the Zarqa, Russeifa and Hashimiyah suburbs, increasing the number of beneficiaries from the wastewater services in the governorate to 82% from 72%, and contributing to reducing the rate of wastewater overflow into the streets as well as increasing the ability to collect wastewater for water treatment and recycling. The project also included the installation of 300 kilometers of wastewater pipes. Zou'bi said that the organization worked in partnership with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the private sector to implement a project to expand As-Samra wastewater treatment plant, which builds on the previous expansion funded by the United States Agency for International Development. The plant continues to implement the most modern technologies for treating 70% of the wastewater in Jordan and provide 133 million cubic meter of treated water to be used for irrigation in the Jordan Valley, representing 10% of Jordan's annual water usage. MCC’s participation came as the government's contribution to this project, amounting to $97 million of the $184 million spent. Zou'bi also highlighted that MCA-Jordan’s achievements were recognized by the MCC, which awarded the company the International Excellence Award in 2014 at the annual celebration held during the 10th anniversary of MCC’s establishment. This prize came to recognize MCA-Jordan’s team, which showed outstanding commitment and innovative methods in achieving results in line with the U.S. agency’svision. Zou'bi also pointed out that as a result of the savings achieved by the organization, an administration building is being built for the Water Authority in the Zarqa governorate at a cost of $1.6 million, contributing to the improvement of operations and services for customers. Zou'bi also pointed out that the project largely succeeded in implementing public safety standards, and was able to deal with the citizen’s complaints as a result of these works, which sometimes numbered 80 work sites in the Zarqa governorate, as a result of the short deadline period given to complete construction projects. 
In 2010, MCC, which is a U.S. government agency, signed a grant agreement with the Jordanian government with the aim at reducing poverty by enhancing economic growth in the country. The Millennium Challenge Program’s grant, amounting to $275 million, came as a result of the fact that Jordan is one of the most arid countries in the world, and that the lack of water resources affects all aspects of people’s lives. It also targeted the improvement of water provision for the residents of the governorate through the introduction of enhancements to the efficiency of water connections and the catchment area for collecting and treating wastewater. According to Zou'bi, approximately three million people will benefit from the program’s projects in Zarqa governorate and the capital when the program is completed in January 2017. 
MCA-Jordan was established in June 2010 and is a limited liability company owned by the Government of Jordan for the purpose of managing and implementing the MCC grant program over a span of five years.