Dead Sea, October 21 (Petra)— His Royal Highness, Prince Feisal bin Al Hussein joined Jordanian and international experts at the World Economic Forum Special Meeting on Economic Growth and Job Creation in the Arab World at the Dead Sea to consider how water management in Jordan can be transformed into a system that will guarantee job growth and health for decades to come. At a private session, entitled “Collaborative Pathways for a Water Secure Future,” experts discussed how the looming water crisis will affect economic, social and political life in Jordan, and how government, business, and civil society can make water use as productive as possible. In his keynote address, His Royal Highness Prince Feisal described the need for all sectors of Jordanian and international society to come together to determine the best way to modernize water management in an effort to ensure meaningful growth and future prosperity of the country. To support such efforts, His Royal Highness announced that he had re-convened the Royal Water Commission to up-date the Kingdom’s national strategy, “Water for Life.” “Water impacts on all pillars of our economies. Agricultural production, energy generation, industry and manufacturing. If we are unable to provide sustainable water resources to enable such economic activity, we are essentially limiting the growth potential and associated job prospects and livelihoods of our people.” Secretary General of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation Maysoon Zoubi noted a collaboration and analysis sponsored by USAID and the Water Resources Group last year, that concluded that the demand for water resources Jordan requires in 2030 will exceed its available supply. To minimize this water “gap”, the analysis identified efficiency and allocation options that would save money for the government and water users while delaying the need for new sources. The WRG analysis also identified water uses that cost the government more money than they contribute to the national economy requiring high level Ministerial debate to address the issues. The WRG collaboration and work has supported the development of existing initiatives and is currently being discussed between the government and key partners to structure and agree on a long term multi-stakeholder programme to take forward the analysis.
Director of USAID in Jordan Kevin Rushing called water efficiency the “win-win response to scarcity,” adding that “there is no doubt that water use will change The question is whether we have the foresight to adapt to change or if we will be forced to react in the face of crisis.” Drawing from the conclusions of the WRG analysis and the work of other existing programmes such as USAID’s Institutional Strengthening and Support Programme, the session considered themes for the new national strategy that the Ministry of Water and Irrigation aims to submit to a new National Water Council. The themes include Supply and Demand, Water, Energy and Food ,Economic and Financing, Institution and Legislation, Water Quality in the Natural Environment and Transboundary and Shared Water All speakers emphasized the importance of cooperation among all sectors for reform. As His Royal Highness Prince Feisal stated, “We need a public-private- civil society and also academic coalition working in harmony to address this monumental challenge. And it falls on all of us to ensure its success.”