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Jordan - Utilities
Jordan is considered to be one of the ten most water scarce countries in the world. This situation is likely to be aggravated in the future by high population growth and the depletion of underground water reserves. Israel and Syria shared Jordan's water sources, the Jordan River and the Yarmouk River, leaving only a small amount for consumption by the Jordanians. Groundwater resources in the country are overexploited, which causes pollution and depletion in the long term. The country plans to increase cost recovery and efficiency of the water and sanitation sector through a number of new laws, a new tariff system, and a National Water Master Plan. External donors are largely responsible for infrastructure financing.
Jordan's drinking water standards were raised in 2001, as a result of a major drinking water pollution outbreak in Amman in the summer of 1998. This was due to a malfunction of Amman's drinking water treatment plant. Now however, the standard includes specific measures to be undertaken in case of the occurrence of pollution in drinking water samples. Newcomers to Jordan are advised to use bottled water at first until they become accustomed to the tap water, but if in doubt the water can be boiled before use.
As regards the sewer service, only 58% of the population and 6% in the rural areas are connected to the sewerage system. The rest of the population make use of on-site septic tanks.
Jordan's water resources are located well away from its population centres, particularly the Greater Amman area where about half of the country's population lives and which lies at about 1,000 metres above sea level. To combat this problem, an extensive bulk water supply infrastructure has been developed to provide water for both irrigation and municipal uses.
Water and sewerage services in Jordan are very heavily subsidized, with the revenue covering only part of the operation and maintenance costs. Water users pay a higher tariff per cubic metre if they consume more water as the tariff system is an increasing-block system. The tariff for water is generally affordable for the poor. The tariff rates system distinguishes between Amman, where the tariffs are considerably higher compared with the rest of the country.
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