Project results from FUSE: A way forward in reply to the deepening water crisis in Jordan

Prolonged and potentially destabilizing water shortages will become commonplace in Jordan by 2100, new research finds, unless the nation implements comprehensive reform, from fixing leaky pipes to desalinating seawater. Jordan’s water crisis is emblematic of challenges looming around the world as a result of climate change and rapid population growth.

This article was originally published in Stanford News, describing parts of the work that the FUSE project (supported in the JPI Urban Europe SUGI Nexus call) is doing in Jordan.

The country of Jordan will need to adopt urban food-water-energy nexus solutions to deal with the severe water security challenges it faces. New research from the FUSE project finds that the country will struggle to provide its already water-stressed population with half of the current water supply as its population grows rapidly and groundwater resources dwindle. The situation is emblematic of the challenges faced by an increasing number of water-scarce countries. To avoid a water crisis, Jordan will have to enact comprehensive reform of its urban food-water-energy nexus, including, energy-intensive seawater desalination, a more equitable distribution of water supply, and water transfers from agriculture to urban users. The FUSE team has published their results on March 29, 2021  in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dwindling water supplies and a growing population will halve per capita water use in Jordan by the end of this century. Without intervention, few households in the arid nation will have access to even 40 liters (10.5 gallons) of piped water per person per day. Low-income neighborhoods will be the hardest hit, with 91 percent of households receiving less than 40 liters daily for 11 consecutive months per year by 2100.

Those are among the sobering predictions of a peer-reviewed paper by an international team of 17 researchers published March 29 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Jordan’s deepening water crisis offers a glimpse of challenges that loom elsewhere as a result of climate change, population growth, intensifying water use, demographic shocks and heightened competition for water across boundaries, said study co-author and Stanford hydrologist Steve Gorelick, who directs the Global Freshwater Initiative at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment. The World Health Organization estimates half of humanity may live in water-stressed areas by 2025, and the United Nations anticipates water scarcity could displace 700 million people by 2030.

The U.N. has committed to ensuring sustainable freshwater management and universal access to clean water and sanitation as one of its 17 sustainable development goals. But until now, analytic frameworks have been lacking, said Gorelick, who led the Jordan Water Project and its continuation, the FUSE Project (Food-water-energy for Urban Sustainable Environments).

The new predictions derive from…  continue reading the whole article here.

Interested in more from the FUSE project? 
>> Avoiding Crisis in Jordan’s Tenuous Water Future
>> FUSE projects page




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