Zarqa Railway Dies While Water Is To Be Rationed

It’s like I’m living in the Twilight Zone:

The Jordanian government said Monday it had terminated an agreement signed with a Pakistani-Chinese coalition of firms to build a light railway between Amman and the industrial city of Zarqa for legal reasons. “From a legal viewpoint, the documents presented by the coalition included a number of issues that violate the reference conditions and the agreement for the construction and operation of the project at the agreed time,” Transport Minister Alaa Batayneh said.

The agreement on the 216-million-dollar project was signed during the World Economic Forum conference at the Dead Sea resort in May. [source]

I still think it’s a good idea and I hope it does get implemented by someone soon. Jordan is in desperate need of trains, especially between the major cities. It will decrease the amount of cars used, not to mention burden on infrastructure like roads, and of course, accidents. Hey, here’s an idea: the government could probably do this project all on its own after a year or two of money consolidation from the soon-to-be new traffic law.


The Jordanian government has put in place an emergency strategy to deal with a severe water shortage to meet rising demand among its 5.7 million population and hundreds of thousands of refugees. A plan will be implemented to reduce the amount of water pumped to households: Water would be rationed with each house getting it once or twice a week, for three to five hours at a time.

Wait. You mean we’re getting water more than once a week now!? And its more than five hours!? No one told me! What the deuce!

In my opinion, there are already way too many people who don’t shower enough in this country. This news does not bode well for our national hygiene. Oh, and the already-burdened agricultural sector too.

(By the way, the once-a-week showers and the rationing system is something I dreamt up almost 2 and a half years ago. But I thought it would take at least 42 years)

Ministry of Planning officials have called for international help to build more reservoirs, implement water conservation projects, and revamp aging water supply systems in cities. Water Ministry officials say at least 45 percent of the country’s total water supply is lost due to leaking pipes.

At a recent meeting of regional countries hosting refugees, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Planning Nasser Shreideh said JD 430 million (US$606 million) was needed to carry out projects to help increase water reserves.

I actually believe the 45 percent figure, but I would wager that most of those leaky pipes are in rural, farmland areas like the Jordan Valley, and those leaky pipes, which are more like sparkling fountains, are due to the fact that the government lays down these pipes to run on top of the ground across fields of land. In other words, farmers, faced with high water prices, will simply creep up in the night and poke holes in these long black tubes, so that they can soak up their land for free and blame it on the infamous ghor woodpecker, who I am almost certain exists. I wish I knew how much the municipalities spend every month just on fixing holes. A weekly traveler to the ghor area myself, I can guarantee you that there is one stretch of farmland that is lined with these water tubes for kilometers on end, and they will always flood the streets until someone from the municipality comes to patch them up. They do this pretty much once a week.

It’s like a policy based on filling water into a bucket with a hole in it. Maybe it’s time to get a new bucket or even a better plumber.

You have to admit, that’s pretty damn metaphorical.

Leaky pipes aside, there’s just too much water wastage going around; deserving a dedicated post unto itself. The environmental police should fine people who wash their car with a running hose, and the government should put an end to these big water-dependent “development” projects: yes it’s true, we are among the 10 most water impoverished countries worldwide but we still have two water parks and a third on its way.

Anyways, if the water rations policy does work out in the end without rendering us all into water hungry orphans, then that’ll be a sight to see. But for now, it feels like another cop out.

“Please Sir, can I have some more?”


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