On Tuesday the 3rd of December 2019, ReWater MENA project carried out the second National Learning Alliance in Jordan. The NLA took place at the premises of a Community Based Organization (CBO) in the Northern Jordan Valley, where a group of approximately 25 diverse stakeholders were invited to participate. The invited stakeholders were representatives presenting; farmers from the Northern Jordan Valley, German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) in Jordan, Royal Scientific Society (RSS), Jordan Valley Authority, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Arab Countries Water Utilities Association (ACUWA) and the Ministry of Environment.
The meeting was co-organized by the RSS with support from Lisode, which is guiding the participatory process of the ReWater MENA project. The meeting started with a brief introduction of all attendees, followed by an opening speech by Dr. Almoayied Assayed of the RSS. In his opening speech, Dr. Assayed highlighted the objective of the second NLA, which is to address the North Jordan Valley farmers’ concern about the reuse of treated water for irrigation instead of freshwater from the King Abdullah Canal.
The meeting continued as numerous presentations displayed GIZ’s successful treated water reuse cases in Jordan, and the technical modifications that improved the treated water’s quality to supply the Northern and Middle Jordan Valley farms. The speakers also explained the climate change impacts on Jordan’s water resources and the additional water demand that was brought along with the increasing numbers of Syrian refugees in Jordan since 2011.
Following the presentations, the attendees were asked to group up and discuss two questions; the first was, what are the advantages and disadvantages of treated water reuse in agriculture? And the second was, how is it possible to overcome these disadvantages or obstacles?
Answers to the prior questions revealed the intensity of water scarcity in the Northern Jordan Valley entailing threats to the agricultural productivity in the region. However, farmers shared the concern of the previous case at Middle Jordan Valley during the 90s, which was followed by a significant loss in citrus farms. Farmers in the Middle Jordan Valley associated this loss to the quality of the treated water. The meeting worked on clarifying and correcting the farmer’s perception by revealing the truth of treated water’s quality that has improved considerably since the 90s.
By the end of the meeting, some farmers were willing to learn more about the potential that treated water withholds. The role of RSS as an independent and credible scientific organization in Jordan broke the ice and allowed farmers to have open communication channels between the authorities and farmers in the Northern Jordan Valley.