Ministry of Water and Irrigation
The Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MWI) was established in 1988 with a by-law issued by the executive branch of the Government under the Jordanian Constitution. The establishment of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation was in response to Jordan’s recognition of the need for a more integrated approach to national water management.
MWI is responsible for overall national leadership on policy, strategic direction and planning of Jordan water sector, in coordination with WAJ and JVA. Under By-law No. 14 of 2014, MWI assumes full responsibility for water and public sewage and all related projects in the Kingdom. MWI aims to upgrade, develop and regulate the water sector and enhance the quality of water services. It has a mandate to: develop sectoral policies and strategies; endorse plans and programs related to water resources protection; implement international agreements; develop laws, by-laws, regulations and normative and technical standards; develop private sector partnerships; supervise the implementation of strategic plans and programs; and follow up on the performance of the water companies and utilities. And since its establishment, MWI has been supported by several donor organization projects that have assisted in the development of water policy and water master planning as well as restructuring the water sector.
The Ministry of Water and Irrigation embraces the two most important entities dealing with water in Jordan:
- The Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ): is responsible for the operational management of the water sector, which includes bulk water supply and retail distribution where commercialization of distribution services has not occurred. WAJ is mandated for all operational functions of the water sector including management of water and wastewater services; regulation of construction and quality of service provision projects, operations and maintenance; monitoring of all levels of sector services; and supervision of the water utilities and water companies through the Program Management Unit (PMU). WAJ continues to manage all contracts with the water companies through (PMU), and WAJ and JVA recommend water service cost changes and capital projects, but the Cabinet has ultimate regulatory authority, especially for tariffs.
- The Jordan Valley Authority (JVA): is responsible for the socioeconomic development of the Jordan Valley, primarily manages bulk water supply for irrigation, domestic and industrial purposes and promotes land development in the Valley. The JVA is also responsible for water resources development, improving the environment, hydroelectric power, tourism, industry and other beneficial uses in the Valley, as well as setting all necessary regulations to control the use of water in farm units, oversight of irrigation networks and agricultural roads networks, and implementation of master and detailed plans for lands outside the planning authority of municipalities. The JVA has organized Water Users Associations (WUA's) in Jordan Valley to encourage community and private sector participation in managing public resources and to provide services for its customers.
The existing organizational structure of the water sector has evolved incrementally and is currently characterized by overlapping responsibilities and administrative gaps. However, with the amendments to the By-law in 2014, MWI is assuming policy and strategic leadership of the sector. The change will bring greater coherence and harmony to the core tasks (mandates) of all 3 Sector entities – MWI, WAJ and JVA. The MWI will have the added authority for strategic planning, water allocation, permitting/enforcement and data collection and management also a significant role of the MWI is monitoring and evaluation of the action plans of the sector.