PERSGA has organized a three days meeting in Aqaba, Jordan during the period May 4th - 6th 2015. The meeting comes in the framework of a running Demonstration Project supported by UNEP through the Global Wastewater Initiative. The workshop was facilitated by regional experts and joined about 25 specialists representing different stakeholders including government officials responsible for wastewater treatment and reuse; water companies; institutions involved in public awareness and supporting sustainable management in the coastal area “NGOs”; and academic institutions. The meeting was highly interactive, involved visits to different relevant activities and the discussions were highly enlightening.
The Regional Project on Wastewater Management has been successfully running since 2013. It builds on well-established activities in PERSGA’s Program, particularly in protection of the coastal environment from land-based pollution and monitoring of the coastal and marine environment. It contributes to implementation the Regional Plan of Action and National Plans of Action prepared in collaboration between PERSGA and UNEP; and endeavors to establish a systematic approach for the assessment of wastewater sources and quantities as well as the nutrient load and pollution accumulation in the coastal and marine environment. The project advocates the use of low cost effective wastewater treatment systems to improve water reuse and relieve the burden of dumping untreated or partially treated wastewater into the marine environment.
The main objective of the Project in the years 2015, 2016 is to demonstrate existing activities in some coastal cities in the region and from other regions to provide a model that can be followed by other cities in: (i) protection of the coastal communities and the coastal and marine environment in PERSGA region from adverse effects associated with municipal wastewater discharge; and (ii) effective exploitation of the scarce freshwater resources through wastewater treatment and minimizing losses of treated wastewater by reuse in agriculture, landscaping and industry.
Aqaba, Jordan provides a good example of effective reuse of treated wastewater, where all generated wastewater is treated and all treated wastewater is reused. Jordan has only 27 km of sea shore on the Red Sea. Since the country has adopted zero discharge policy, no point sources are allowed to be discharged into the Red Sea. Jordan has developed a Wastewater Master Plan and Jordanian Standards for wastewater reuse. The Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority “ASEZA” applies restrict EIA regulations. The country also applies swimming water standards and measures the quality of the water in the Jordanian sector of the Gulf of Aqaba regularly.
Effluent from a lagoon in the north of Aqaba is used to feed a wet land which has developed into well known bird habitat and a tourist a traction as a bird observatory site. The Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority applies an effective policy for reclaimed water reuse in irrigation, greening and for industry. Aqaba landscaping is served by a special network for ruse of treated water. There is a special network also from the main mechanical WWTP to the industrial area to transmit the reclaimed water to be used in the production line. Privet enterprises in Aqaba have their own WWTP and they reuse their reclaimed water at their sites. The Aqaba Water Company makes good revenue from selling treating the waste water cover the cost of treatment and sustain the wastewater treatment plants.Demonstration of this good practice that is adequately operational in Aqaba provides an ideal model to be transferred to other PERSGA countries coastal cities.
The Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden