Water expert: Desalination offers best short- and long-term solution to Jordan’s water needs

11-02-2024 11:24 AM

Ammon News - Water expert Elias Salameh has argued, forcefully, that desalination offers the best short- and long-term solution to the 400 million cubic meters of water shortage facing Jordan.

Jordan University professor Elias Salameh gently criticized successive Jordanian governments for ignoring this recommendation that was the heart of the Jordanian Water 2009 -2022 Water strategy plan that was headed by Prince Faysal Bin Al Hussein. “In light of the threats from Jordan’s neighbors of cutting off the sale of water, we must implement immediately some water alternatives,” Salameh said to the Amman Cosmopolitan Rotary Club Wednesday.

Salameh suggested that Jordan should rent a desalination vessel to park outside the Aqaba shores. “Such a vessel could desalinate all the water needs of the Aqaba governorate and therefore, the water needs coming from the Disi wells could be shifted to Amman and the north of Jordan.

Professor Salameh argued that a desalination project would be cheaper than what is spent on water purchased from Israel; “If you add the cost of water we pay to Israel, the transport of this water and its purification, the cost of every cubic meter would be around JD 1.2,” he said. “At the same time, the cost of desalination using a vessel outside of Aqaba would be a fourth of the cost and should not exceed JD. 35 per cubic meter.” Salameh suggested that one of the donors to Jordan could cover the temporary rental of the desalination vessel for a couple of years until a permanent desalination plant is established and begins pumping water from the Red Sea.

The speech at the Landmark Hotel illustrated the rise in demand due to population growth, climate change, and limited water sources while no serious effort is being made to curb water usage by agriculture and other needs.

In answering to questions from Rotarians the Jordan University water expert said that water harvesting could also be deployed to help cover the needs in certain water-deprived areas. “Historically from thousands of years ago, we know that sophisticated water harvesting channeling and storing efforts took place. We need to revisit water harvesting,” he answered.

Rotary Club of Amman Cosmopolitan is already involved in helping villages in the Mafraq district to deal with their water needs by helping renovate old water channels in Um Aljimal historical village and by clearing out 17 old cisterns dug under the ruins of old houses that are now used to service water for the new Um Aljimal village.

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