Water, sanitation and hygiene
Access to safe water and sanitation for every child
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.
UNICEF supports immediate, sustainable and high impact projects, with a focus on water and environmental conservation, to increase access to safely managed water and sanitation services for the most vulnerable children and their families.
Working closely with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, and key stakeholders, UNICEF interventions support policies and strategies that improve the water supply and sanitation infrastructure in cities, schools, refugee camps and at community and household levels - and promote social cohesion and equitable access to water and sanitation for the most vulnerable children, including:
- Supporting vulnerable families in host communities with improved water systems and wastewater infrastructure that are sustainable and climate resilient and expanding coverage to unreached areas;
- Improving WASH facilities and improved hygiene behaviours in host community schools;
- Providing Syrian refugees in camps and hard to reach areas with access to an adequate quantity of safe water (tankering and water infrastructure) and appropriate sanitation facilities;
- Building and operating of cost-effective and sustainable water and wastewater networks in Azraq and Za'atari refugee camps, improving both the quality of the water supply and its equitable distribution and improving the lives of over 100,000 refugee children and their families;
- Scaling up alternative water technologies, including water saving and reuse, and engaging children as agents of change on water conservation, in communities and through school Environment Clubs.