Jordan is the second most water scarce country in the world. Jordan’s annual renewable water resources are less than 100 m3 per person, significantly below the threshold of 500 m3 per person which defines severe water scarcity.
While more than 98% of the population has access to an improved water source, only 93% access a safely-managed source and 86% to a piped network. In urban areas, water is usually available once a week, and less than once every two weeks in rural areas, with reduced frequency during the summer. Only 77.3% of existing sanitation systems are safely managed and only a third of schools have basic sanitation services.
These challenges have been exacerbated by increased water demands due to growth in population and in industrial and agricultural capacity. Long term groundwater monitoring in the country’s main aquifers suggests that water levels are falling, with annual declines of more than ten metres in some aquifers.
Another compounding factor is the high levels of non-revenue water (water leakage, illegal connections, meter losses), estimated at 52%, as well as the perception that water is not a scare resource and the high levels of subsidies.
The situation in informal settlements is of particular concern due to high rates of open defecation and the limited access to safe water. Vulnerable households are forced to spend a large portion of their limited incomes on limited and poor quality services.
Climate change is expected to have a significant impact on Jordan, most likely leading to increased temperatures, variation in precipitation patterns, extreme weather events, and flash flooding. This will compromise the resilience of water and sanitation services making it more complex the achievement towards Sustainable Development Goal 6.
Key hygiene norms, including handwashing, are well-practiced in Jordan, but gaps remain in access to basic hygiene items for vulnerable households.