Water scarcity and governance in Jordan and Spain

26 noviembre 2018

Casa Árabe, Madrid, November 26th, 2018Spain takes pride in its longstanding engagement with Jordan; a stable partner in a troubled region.

Since the first Gulf War, a context full of changing variables has further exacerbated Jordanian economic strains. Water is a resource in which Jordan ranks amongst one of the most stressed countries in the world. Its annual renewable resources of 145 cubic meters per capita are far below the threshold of severe water scarcity of 500 cubic meters. The competition among water needs for irrigation, industrial and domestic uses, wetland protection, and in-stream habitat continues to pose serious challenges in Jordan. Therefore, this strategic Arab country requires a stronger and more effective support on behalf of the international community, including Spain, both bilaterally and in the EU.

As water is essential to develop societies and foster economic growth, one of the main challenges in a context of water scarcity and increasing demand is to achieve security trough integrated water resource management. Spain has a long tradition in tackling water scarcity from a sustainable perspective, building on a solid water governance system. This system has proven to be effective in dealing with new water-related challenges such as droughts, floods or water quality concerns, which have multiplied due to the negative impacts of climate change and pressures stemming from a growing population and tourism.

Supported by a vast array of Spanish private companies in the water sector (which have a renowned leadership and expertise), Spanish Water Governance System counts with the most high-tech water solutions currently in place in areas like building, design and operation of water infrastructures, non-conventional resources (water reuse and de-salination), water quality management, etc.

Good water governance is key to cope with water security and the first and foremost way to effectively provide adequate and sustainable water services for different uses (agriculture, urban supply, tourism, etc.).

Nature of the seminar

This seminar, to be held in Madrid, will contribute to explore a partnership between Spain and Jordan in the field of water management as a means of enhancing the capacity of the Water Administrations concerned. Three main axes could be considered.


  1. Exchange of best practices in water governance with a focus on water planning at the basin level, hydrological risks management and prevention (floods and droughts) to prevent underdevelopment due to water scarcity.
  2. As Jordan has been identified as a “country of advanced cooperation” in the V Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation (2018-2021), bilateral technical cooperation for development in the water sector could be examined.
  3. Planning, programming and funding possibilities of water infrastructures, both traditional and technological (including quantity and quality monitoring water networks). The role of private sector and Public-private partnerships (PPP) in the provision of water services.


  • The seminar could be inaugurated by Ministers (Foreign Affairs and Cooperation or Ecological Transition) of both countries.
  • Representatives of Ministries of Ecological Transition/ of Water and Irrigation/ Planning and International Cooperation/ Spanish Agency of International Development Cooperation and other public institutions (i.e. River Basin Authorities, CEDEX, CIEMAT).
  • Water experts and specialists, as well as senior managers of leading companies in the water sector or their professional associations (SEOPAN, AEAS, TECNIBERIA, etc..)


Opening Session

09:15 – 09:30        Welcoming words: Pedro Martínez-Avial, Director-General, Casa Árabe and Eva Martínez, Director-General for Maghreb, Africa and Middle East, Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Union.
09:30 – 10:00        Raed Abu Soud. Minister of Water and Irrigation.
10:00 – 10:30        Hugo Morán, Secretary of State of Environment, Ministry of Ecologic Transition, Spain.
10:30 – 10:45        Aina Calvo, Director, Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development
10:45 – 11:15        Coffee break.

Round Table 1 (11:15 – 12:45): Water management against the risk of scarcity

  • The risk of scarcity in the Mediterranean, Enrique Cifres, former Deputy Director of Jucar River Basin Authority, Mediterranean Water Institute.
  • The situation in Spain, Manuel Menéndez, Director-General of Water, Ministry of Ecologic Transition, Spain.
  • Jordanian needs vs. realities, Susanne Kilani, Water Quality Professional and Advisor to the Minister on Technical Affairs
  • Chair: Eduardo Orteu, head of Water Unit, Ministry of Ecologic Transition, Spain.

12:45 – 13:00        Coffee break.

Round Table 2 (13:00 – 14:30): Regional Cooperation in the Mediterranean

  • Regional Cooperation in the Mediterranean, Miguel García-Herraiz, Deputy Secretary General, Union for the Mediterranean.
  • Water issues in the region and the Jordanian – Union for Mediterranean / EU collaboration. Mohammad Al Dwairi, Acting Assistant Secretary General for Strategic Planning.
  • Water Strategy in the Western Mediterranean, Laura Tanco, Jucar Water Planning Office and MENBO expert (Mediterranean Network of Basin Organisations).
  • Cooperation in Arab countries. The situation in Jordan. Khaldon H. Khashman, Secretary General, Arab Countries Water Utilities Association (ACWUA).
    Chair: Marta Morén Abat, policy officer, European Commission Directorate-General for Environment International, Regional and Bilateral Relations.

14:30 – 15:30 Lunch

15:30 – 17:00 Technological Solutions

  • Tomas Michel, Digital technology for Water Management and Governance, President of WssTP (Water sanitation and supply Technology Platform).
  • Domingo Zarzo, Water de-salinization and Re-use: lessons learnt. President of AEDyR (Asociacion Española de Desalación y Reutilización).
  • Manuel Marchena, Management of Urban Water Services, institutional chairman, AGA (Asociación Española de Empresas Gestoras de Servicios de Agua Urbana).
  • Susanne Kilani, Water Quality Professional and Advisor to the Minister on Technical Affairs.
  • Existing Innovation and future initiatives in Water Supply and groundwater management, Saddam Ali Khleifat, Advisor on Water Utilities and Groundwater Management.
  • Mohammad Aldagag, Minister Advisor on Administrative Affairs.
  • Chair: Beatriz Fontán Oñate, Chief of Water Sector, ICEX.