Smart Dutch solutions for Jordan’s water scarcity and agriculture

Jordan has the dubious honour of being almost at the top of the table in terms of water scarcity. Dutch expertise is welcome, as revealed during the Water and Agriculture scoping mission in November 2018. 

The mission was organised by NWP and the Netherlands Embassy in Jordan and was supported by the Partners for Water Programme.

Water crisis
Tessa Terpstra, Dutch Regional Envoy for Water and Energy Security in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, joined the mission. She regarded it as a prelude to potential intensive collaboration in the near future. Several Dutch organisations joined the scoping mission to assess the local situation and look for potential projects. In total, 21 experts from 17 companies participated.

After seeing the water situation in Jordan for herself, Tessa Terpstra said that “Jordan is facing a deepening water crisis. Jordanians are among the most water-deprived populations globally, with a water availability of just 145 m3 per person per year – a figure that is projected to drop to just 91 m3 by 2025. Jordan’s lack of water resources impacts the country’s economic growth, political stability and national security. The growing water demand in Jordan puts huge pressure on the country’s water resources. Part of our input could be to bring the circular economy one step closer in Jordan.”

Jordan is facing a deepening water crisis

“I have renewable energy to desalinate water, but the soil is too saline to grow anything other than palm trees. What do I do?’, says farmer Abu Zaki in Jordan Valley”


Tweet by Tessa Terpstra
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Water for agriculture
The mission included several field visits, where the Dutch delegation met with local farmers. Tessa Terpstra continues “The Jordan Valley is the country’s most important agricultural region. A considerable part of the water used in agriculture is purified waste water and the government wants to increase the amount even further. The country therefore needs to focus on reusing waste water, higher water efficiency in agriculture and solutions to the growing energy demand from the water sector.”

Focus on reuse of waste water and higher water efficiency in agriculture

“Better use of installations, the adoption of innovative technology, and improved governance should be combined to address the situation. In addition to technical engineering, there is a need for financial engineering. As well as development and climate funds, this will also involve private financing. We will work towards pairing Dutch water authorities and the Yarmouk Water Company in the north of Jordan. This could be done within the framework of the Blue Deal, the new international programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and Dutch water authorities.”

“Eventually, we would also like to see a regional expertise centre for waste water processing for the entire MENA region. Dutch and Jordanian universities are interested in working together on this. It could also be of interest to the private sector, including start-ups.”

Dutch and Jordanian universities are interested in working together on the establishment of a regional expertise centre for waste water processing

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