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Mafraq (Jordan)

Finalized project

Support to Zaatari refugee camp and host communities in the Mafraq governorate

Region Mafraq Governorate
Period 2014-2019
Project partners  City of Amsterdam, International Cooperation Agency of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG International)
Recipients Zaatari refugee camp, the City of Mafraq, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNICEF, Yarmouk Water Company (YWC)
Funding  Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (BZ)


Over 5.6 million people have fled Syria since 2011, seeking safety in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and beyond. Jordan is currently hosting more than a million refugees. Approximately 80% of them live outside camps and around 85,000 have found sanctuary at Zaatari camp, located 10 km east of the City of Mafraq. Zaatari camp opened on July 29th, 2012 to host approximately 22.000 refugees, but is now one of the largest in the world, in one of the most water scarce countries. The development of adequate water and sanitation systems is crucial. A process in which World Waternet provided support. 

At the request of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the international branch of the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG-I) and the Municipality of Amsterdam, a municipal assistance initiative, was implemented. The support has led to a more efficient way of organizing municipal services and improvement of the livelihoods of Jordanian citizens and refugees. The initiative brougth technical expertise and organisational capacity to Jordan’s authorities, the UNHCR camp management and UNICEF, in order to cope with the humanitarian and developmental challenges resulting from the Syrian refugee influx. Key areas in which assistance is provided include regional development and planning, governance, solid waste management, drinking water and sanitation, transport and infrastructure. World Waternet was responsible for capacity development on drinking water and sanitation (waste water collection and treatment).

Our impact

Capacity development is provided to local- and central government, UNHCR, UNICEF and to Yarmouk Water company to assist them in improving service delivery to host communities and the Al Zaa’tari refugee camp. The support will lead to a more efficient way of organising municipal services and improvement of the livelihoods of Jordanian citizens and refugees.


  • Peer-to-peer advice, coaching, mentoring and co-production of concepts with regards to the design of a drinking water network and sewage system design for the Zaatari refugee camp. Close synergies are sought with urban planning and transport.
  • Operation and maintenance of sewage systems and asset management for the host communities.
  • Multiple theory trainings and trainings on the job to the Jordan Water Authority.
  • Improvement of operations and maintenance of sewerage via extensive training
  • Workshops in cooperation with IHE Delft to increase the knowledge on asset management for the Jordan Water Authority, the Jordan water companies, UNICEF and UNHCR. The knowledge is used in prioritizing water and wastewater infrastructure investments in the Mafraq governorate with a focus on Mafraq city.

Obtained results

  • Improved water and wastewater networks for the Zaatari refugee camp.
  • Improvement of operations and maintenance of sewerage in host communities.
  • Implementation of a new sewer cleaning methodology, including donation of two vacuum trucks.
  • Increased focus on safety in operation and maintenance of water infrastructure.
  • Better knowledge on asset management for Jordan Water Authority, Jordan water companies, UNICEF and UNHCR.

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The collaboration led to the publication of:

Pathirana, A., Radhakrishnan, M., Bevaart, M., Voost, E., Mahasneh, S., & Abu Al Rob, H. (2018). Fit-for-Purpose Infrastructure Asset Management Framework for Water Utilities Facing High Uncertainties. Infrastructures, 3, 55. ()

Van der Helm, A. W. C., Bhai, A., Coloni, F., Koning, W. J. G., & de Bakker, P. T. (2017). Developing water and sanitation services in refugee settings from emergency to sustainability – the case of Zaatari Camp in Jordan. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 07.3. ()