Jordan and Germany signed a 23.5 million-euro soft-loan agreement to finance key projects in the Kingdom's water sector. The funds, to be extended by the German Development Bank (KFW), represent the third and final installment of a 70-million euro soft loan the two countries agreed on three years ago to finance the Water Resources Management Program.
Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Jafar Hassan, Bettina Tewinkel, director of KFW office in Amman, and Stefan Zeeb, MENA water team director, signed the agreement in the presence of Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Najjar and German Ambassador Ralph Tarraf.
Hassan explained that 17.5 million euros would be allocated to finance a project to reuse wastewater for irrigation in the Northern Jordan Valley, while the remaining six million euros will be used to implement schemes to reduce water loss in the central governorates.
The interest rate on the soft loan is 2.5 per cent with a grace period of four years and a maturity period of 15 years, according to the minister, who underlined the importance of the projects in providing water resources to farmers in the Jordan Valley.
Hassan pointed out that Jordan and Germany are expected to sign another loan agreement worth 30 million euros in the next few weeks as part of the second phase of the Water Resources Management Program.
Under the second phase of the program, the official said, a pipeline will be constructed between Khaou and Zaatari, which is part of the Disi Water Conveyance Project, to supply Zarqa and northern governorates with water.
He also indicated that Jordan and Germany are working to reach an agreement on an energy efficiency project to cut down energy consumption in 700 public sector buildings such as schools.
Stressing the importance of the water reuse programs, particularly in water-poor countries like Jordan, Zeeb said the potential for using treated wastewater in agriculture is still not fully realized in the Kingdom, adding that the project will make more than 10 million cubic meters of water available to the agriculture sector each year.
"By replacing fresh water currently used in agriculture, the stress on water resources will be eased and more water will be available for human consumption," he said.
As one of Jordan's major economic supporters, Germany has offered over one billion euros in financial and economic aid over the past 50 years to fund various projects and programs.