Social and Behavioral Sciences


Jordan’s Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MWI) characterizes the country as suffering from severe water scarcity. The water sector faces compounding threats to its water supply, including an increase of over 1.2 million Syrians as a result of the Syrian civil war. 726,662 Syrians, both refugees and guests,[1] are located in three northern governorates of Jordan: Mafraq, Irbid and Zarqa (MIZ), accounting for 19.72% of residential water share/p/d in these governorates.[2] This population increase is coupled with the 2014 water demand increasing by 21% nationally and by 40% in the most populated northern governorates.[3] Needless to say, the northern MIZ governorates are under considerable water strain. The issue of water scarcity in Jordan, however, is complex and exacerbated by factors such as transboundary water relations, illegal wells, insufficient infrastructure and outdated and inconsistent water quantity resource data.[4] A complete analysis of Syrian water use in Jordan use must include those compounding variables in order to accurately assess the impact on national water supply. In spite of these obstacles, this paper uses the best available information to provide a snapshot of water demand in the MIZ and describe those unknowns needing further clarification in order to accurately predict a more comprehensive water budget. This led to an analysis of the Syrian population residing in Jordan and their collective water demand in Jordan. Using the MWI water demand calculation to compute the Syrian population’s water demand,[5] Syrians in Jordan have contributed a 13% increase in residential[6] water use and a 1.7% water demand increase overall[7]to Jordan’s water sector.