Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nasser Shraideh on Thursday announced the results of “The Conference of Donors and Financiers of the National Water Carrier Project”, where $1.830 billion was pledged in grants and loans.
The United States pledged a total of $700 million in financial support to the National Water Carrier Project. This constitutes $300 million in grants and $400 million in soft investment loans, according to Shraideh.
He pointed out that the conference is the first of two rounds, with the second round to take place at the same time next year. The second conference will be held before the bids are referred to one of the qualified developers and hopes to obtain more grants for the project.
According to Shraideh, the European Union pledged $147 million in grants alongside development loans of $522 million and soft investment loans of $461 million. These grants are provided from Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands and Spain, in addition to the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Shraideh noted that the development and soft investment loans, which are up to 20 years with a four year grace period. The loans will help reduce financial costs, which will be reflected in the price of one cubic metre of desalinated water.
The minister said that during the next few weeks, the ministry will begin to follow up with various donors and funding agencies to begin preparing bilateral funding agreements.
“We will continue our efforts to prepare for the next conference, which will be before the end of the first quarter of 2023, to provide more grants and soft loans to support the project, which will enhance the water security of the Kingdom and will create added value providing water for citizens in the various governorates,” he added.
He noted that the project will be implemented by the end of 2023 to early 2024, and is therefore expected to produce the first cubic metre of desalinated water by the end of 2026 to early 2027.
Shraideh said that the National Water Carrier Project will enable Jordan to fill the expected water deficit during the next years, alongside opening “new horizons to enhance the water needs of the various economic sectors such as agriculture, industry, tourism and others”.
The minister highlighted the distinguished relationships that His Majesty has built over the decades with other countries, “which we benefit from to mobilise more support, especially from grants for this strategic and vital project”.
According to the minister, the National Water Carrier Project is “a strategic choice” to solve the Kingdom’s water scarcity problems, as there is no other option. “The measures currently taken by the government will mitigate any risks that may arise from the project,” he added.
Shraideh said that the project contains multiple elements, most of which are constructional. These include the establishment of a desalination station on the coast of the Gulf of Aqaba, pumping stations, as well as additional renewable energy projects.
“The project will create a large number of opportunities in construction, technical and energy sectors that will contribute to employing Jordanians,” he continued.