30 November 2020

Jordanian Yarmouk Water Company and World Waternet kick off extensive Water Operators' Partnership

Yarmouk Water Company and World Waternet entered into a Water Operators’ Partnership. An extensive capacity building programme has been set-up with the aim to improve the service delivery of Yarmouk Water Company and to increase access to improved sanitation and clean, sufficient and safe water for the population in Northern Jordan. Starting in November 2020, this Water Operators’ Partnership will run for 3 years and is funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The influx of 1.3 million Syrians has put a substantial burden on Jordanian cities’ municipal infrastructure and service delivery, as 90 per cent of refugees live outside camps and within Jordanian cities. Yarmouk Water Company (YWC) is one of the three water companies in Jordan, responsible for drinking water and wastewater service delivery in the Northern part of Jordan. The massive population growth has resulted in an ever-growing demand for water. At the same time, it places unprecedented stress on the limited water resources and wastewater infrastructure,  which are often failing to meet standards of operation.

Figure 1: World Waternet experts visit a YWC wastewater treatment plant during the inception mission in October 2019.

In November 2020, YWC and World Waternet have entered into a three-year Water Operators’ Partnership (WOP) to address several key challenges with respect to performance improvement of YWC. WOPs are peer-to-peer support partnerships between water and sanitation utilities aiming to share knowledge and skills to improve capacities and the performance of utilities and make them stronger, healthier and more resilient. Based on the outcome of a technical scoping and inception mission and subsequent online exchanges between World Waternet, the Netherlands Embassy in Amman and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Netherlands, a capacity building programme has been developed for 2020-2023, consisting of the following components:

  1. Rehabilitation of wastewater networks of seven main streets in Central Irbid
  2. Capacity building on preventative operations and maintenance, inspection and maintenance planning of the wastewater networks
  3. Improved asset management of wastewater treatment plants and other wastewater infrastructures
  4. Improved procurement and tendering procedures, including result based contracting
  5. Secure safety measures and procedures including COVID-19 measures, surveillance and customer communication

Figure 2: YWC staff uses one of the Waternet vacuum trucks to clean sewer blockages in the streets of Irbid

The Water Operator’s Partnership with World Waternet has come at the right time, according to Ashraf Bataineh, Director Technical Affairs at YWC: “ Despite Jordan's severe water scarcity, more than 94% of Jordanians have access to safe drinking water piped networks. However, water supply is intermittent and rooftop tanks are still an integral part of the supply system to store water. YWC had been facing financial and technical difficulties since several years. Each year it has been difficult to gain our annual budget, and covering our operational expenses by our revenues, we still depend on subsidies. In November 2020, we succeeded with the support of Netherlands Government through its Embassy in Amman to sign a partnership agreement with World Waternet, which is considered an international reputable and experienced company in the fields of management of water, wastewater, energy saving and capacity building”.