Wadi Musa

Time period :


Implementing Institution/ Organization:

Aqaba Water Company

Funded by :

donors with a government contribution of 10–20%

Methodology (approach)

Wadi Musa WWTP is managed and operated by the AWC. To access data about the plant, an official request needs to be sent through the WAJ who forwards it to the AWC. Once the requested information is prepared by AWC, it must be processed and screened through the WAJ’s Rights to Information Section in Amman before it is released. Direct communication with staff at the plant is not allowed.

For this purpose, a letter requesting the required data for plant characterization was sent to the Secretary-General of the WAJ in May 2021 using the required template. Other sources of information used in this water reuse case study include published WAJ reports, the AWC website and other related websites, and information from previous studies.

It took two weeks for the data request to be processed, approved and delivered. The consultant reviewed the data and compiled it as needed into the template. Where data were missing, the consultant made an informed judgment based on experience, and by comparing information about Wadi Musi WWTP with other similar plants.

Study Results

Wastewater is collected from hotels in Petra city and nearby areas via a wastewater collection network that serves a population of 20,000. Once collected, the wastewater is transferred to the Wadi Musa WWTP (AWC 2021). Collected water undergoes three stages of mechanical treatment at the plant: primary (grit removal and sedimentation tanks), secondary (biological activated sludge and nitrogen removal) and tertiary (polishing ponds followed by chlorination disinfection) (Figure 7.2) (Image 7.1). Over time, the plant efficiency has dropped with farmers who use its recycled water for irrigation complaining of a decrease in water quality, particularly its increased salinity, which affects drip irrigation systems. Wadi Musa WWTP produces 2,796 m3 /day of treated wastewater. This water is transferred to 80 farms around Sadd al Ahmar, an area of 100 ha, to be reused to irrigate fodder crops, mainly alfalfa. The water is given to the farmers at no charge as part of the community-based project’s aims to encourage new businesses. The farmers use a drip irrigation system to save water (ACW 2021; WAJ 2021). This new water source is helping the local community in the Sadd al Ahmar area to work in farming and is creating jobs for the local community including women who are employed for crop harvesting. It is important to note, however, that full gender-disaggregated data is not yet available. It is clear that the sewerage network and wastewater treatment are helping to protect human health and the environment in Petra city and Wadi Musa, minimizing the number of septic tanks still in use to just a small area not connected to the sewerage network. Another major health and environmental benefit is the reduction of risk of microbial contamination to groundwater, soil and crops from the septic tanks or raw wastewater discharge in the wadis – valleys, rivers and channels that are dry outside the rainy season. In terms of socioeconomic impact, this new water source is bringing opportunity to 100 farms that are now using it to cultivate alfalfa crops for fodder, creating jobs for 200 to 300 people, including opportunities for women. The families working in the farming activities have been able to generate income from the farms, which is helping them to settle in their areas instead of moving to the big cities for work. In addition, the location of the Wadi Musa WWTP near the reuse project has created jobs for the local community in the operation and maintenance of the plant and the transmission lines. As the recycled water is rich in nutrients, there are also savings from fertilizer costs. Yields are also increasing by 10 to 15%. Charging fees are also minimal at less than USD 0.2/m3 . Every newly constructed WWTP in Jordan has an associated water reuse plan. Most plants discharge their treated wastewater to the wadi, which goes on to be stored in dams. From the dams, the recycled water is mixed with stormwater, and transferred to the Jordan Valley for irrigation purposes. A few plants like Wadi Musa WWTP have a specific reuse project for their water, where in this case, 100% of recycled water is transferred to the reuse project. The Wadi Musa WWTP and Sadd al Ahmar reuse model can be considered a success. Having a new source of water has enabled farmers to cultivate their land and generate income for their livelihoods. It is helping the local community stay in their area and build their own farming business. This is an approach that can be replicated in other areas. However, this model relied on full governmental support and donor support to fund the infrastructure for the wastewater treatment plant and the reuse transmission and distribution network. Other elements contributing to this success is the minimal charging fees for the reuse of water (less than USD 0.2/m3 ) and the establishment of the Sadd al Ahmar Farmers’ Association, which helped the farmers with technical assistance on how to start and maintain their projects and how to market their farm products.


Availability of a new source of water (3,000 m3 /day) Farming opportunities for the local community. Jobs and a source of income for the local community (200 to 300 people have benefited from the Sadd al Ahmar reuse project so far Visible environmental benefits by increasing the green area Saved groundwater for drinking purposes Less use of fertilizers gh rate of intensification in the existing perimeter (155%).

Dependency on governmental funding Farmers pay minimal charges for treated wastewater Limited crops are suitable Surplus water in winter with no use

Investment opportunities in agriculture and industry High potential for energy recovery and organic fertilizer production Rural development (land and infrastructure) New settlements

Project sustainability Environmental/health risks due to poor maintenance Odor problems Drop in land value due to the existence of the wastewater treatment plant Blockages in the drip network due to salinity increase

References (resources) Found is the case study

1) The local community is cooperative with such projects once there is governmental support. .
2) Farmer awareness about efficient irrigation will decrease used water amounts and reduce operation and maintenance costs.
3)Facilitation of governmental procedures will encourage farmers to benefit from governmental support.

References (resources) Found is the case study

AWC (Aqaba Water Company). 2021. AWC Database. Jordan .

UN Women (United Nations Women); REACH. 2018. Women’s participation in the agricultural sector, rural institutions and community life. Amman, Jordan: UN Women. 112p. Available at https://jordan. (accessed on July 25, 2022).

USAID (United States Agency for International Development). 2018. The status of Jordanian women in the water sector. Jordan: The Jordan Water Management Initiative. Available at (accessed on July 25, 2022).

WAJ (Water Authority of Jordan). 2021. Water authority. The official site of the Jordanian e-government. Available at stries/Ministry/ Ministry%20of%20Water%20and%20Irrigation/Water%20Authority/ (accessed on June 23, 2022).


ADC: Aqaba Development Corporation
ASEZ: Aqaba Special Economic Zone
ASEZA: Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority
AWC: Aqaba Water Company MWI Ministry of Water and Irrigation
JPTD: Jordan Projects for Tourism Development
USAID: United States Agency for International Development
WAJ: Water Authority of Jordan
WWTP: Wastewater Treatment Plan