water

Water is not a given in Jordan

Written by Rand Ishaqat, Communications Assistant at World Vision Syria Response, Jordan 

Water is the essence of life, nature’s nurturing mother and the foundation of human existence. Ever since we were little, we were taught how to save water because Jordan’s water supplies are simply not enough for those living in the country. Teachers were right: Jordan’s annual renewable water resources are less than 100 m3 per person which makes it the second most water scarce country in the world1. But things do not need to stay unchanged; instead, by modifying our water consumption habits as a community, we can conserve water in larger quantities. We can be part of the worldwide campaign by taking shorter showers, installing water-saving shower heads, turning off the water while brushing our teeth and checking faucets for any leaks, etc. We can all make a difference if we work together! 

Children Bear the Costs of Water Shortage 

Looking at the rate of water consumption and the emerging water crisis, we notice that, like with every crisis in the world, children always end up bearing the costs of adults’ mistakes. For example, limited access to water resources can lead to decreased hygiene practices among children, which can then seriously affect their health. Children are also more likely to be affected by waterborne diseases such as cholera, which, if left untreated, can be life threatening2. Not having access to water for prolonged periods can lead to dehydration. For children this means they are at risk of experiencing disorientation, dizziness and a weak pulse3. These are just an illustration of the effects water shortage can have on children. It is thus crucial to ensure children’s well-being and future by providing them with clean and sufficient water for their survival and development.  

World Vision’s Climate Change project addresses exactly this. The project, implemented in three schools in Jordan - Irbid, Mafraq and Jerash - was developed based on the belief that treated water resources must be put to good use so that children continue to enjoy a good health. When we met the students who are part of this project, they agreed on one thing - water is precious and should be cautiously used. They were visibly concerned and alarmed of the low levels of water in their country and what this could mean for each one of them and their communities.  

Manar cannot imagine going through the day without water. It runs through our veins, bodies, water faucets, and rivers. We are dependent on water; it is a vital element of our survival as much as the air we breathe. She was totally right. When water is gone, so is our life – our bodies are made of 95% water, our food grows if we water the plans, we maintain our hygiene with water, and we use it to produce everything from our clothes to phones. “As human beings, we are made of water; hence, for us it means life,” added Manar.  


Manar would not have known all this, if she had not been engaged in the raising awareness sessions regarding water conservation and other climate change topics such as global warming. The students did not only benefit from the knowledge they learnt but also by learning the technical parts of the systems World Vision installed in schools. This turned also Joleen* into an activist in her community, voicing her concern over behaviours that destroy the environment. "When I see people abusing the use of water like that, I can only think about people who are suffering because they do not have water to drink, around the world,” tells us Joleen. She is not exaggerating as some might tend to believe; she understands the critical situation we are all in, be it locally or globally. In Jordan, we are heavily dependent on rainwater to meet the needs of the residents, and huge efforts are directed to make the best use of water that is stored in dams such as Wadi Al Arab. The dam has the capacity to fit millions of cubic meters of water.  

Manar and Joleen are both right. More and more people will face difficulties filling a clean glass of water if we do not collectively monitor our water consumption rates. The global situation is not any better. Water is becoming a rare commodity, and we are spending money on research just to unearth new ways to recycle water or to desalinate water. All of our efforts are directed to avoid knowing or experiencing living a day without water. In Jordan, people who live in urban areas already receive water once a week, and maybe once every two weeks for those living in rural areas, with even more reduced frequency during the summer season4. But, with collective awareness and united attitudes towards water conservation, we will be able to guarantee a future for our children. This way, a glass of water will not be a commodity. Young people like Joleen and Manar should be supported for their determination to make a change, and take action against the deterioration of our world as we know it. For us, those hearing and writing every day the stories of people who benefit from World Vision’s programs, and as Jordanian ourselves, this was a turning point. A call to follow the advices of these young students, consume water wisely and not take water for granted, but appreciate it as the elixir of life.    

“Without water, who are we? What will we do and how will we survive?” Joleen asked us.  

To be honest Joleen, we do not have an answer, but we sincerely hope the day that we are forced to find out, will not come anytime too soon. 

 

raising awareness sessions
To make the most of the available water resources in Jordan, a black water treatment system was installed in the school Joleen and Manar go to. The treated water will be used for schools' gardens irrigation. The system will be powered by the sun which is one of the many sustainable energy sources. 
To make the most of the available water resources in Jordan, a black water treatment system was installed in the school Joleen and Manar go to. The treated water will be used for schools' gardens irrigation. The system will be powered by the sun which is one of the many sustainable energy sources. 

 

FOOTNOTES:

1 UNICEF, Water, sanitation and hygiene.  Available online here: https://www.unicef.org/jordan/water-sanitation-and-hygiene  

2 The Water Project, WATER AND CHILDREN. Available online here: https://thewaterproject.org/water-scarcity/water_scarcity_and_children  

3 Dehydration, NHS, accessed November 29 2021.  Available online here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dehydration/  

4  UNICEF, Water, sanitation and hygiene, accessed 20 November 2021.  Available online here: https://www.unicef.org/jordan/water-sanitation-and-hygiene