Small Is Beautiful: Decentralized Wastewater Management for Climate Change Adaptation

Jordan is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world and severely affected by climate change and refugee influx. Around two third of the population are connected to a sewer and wastewater treatment plant; but the transport is costly and large systems usually require high O&M cost and specialized labor. For that reason, they are rarely feasible for remote locations. One main potential of decentralized wastewater management (DWWM) is to serve areas that cannot be connected cost-efficiently to central plants by bringing the treatment and reuse closer to the point of generation. GIZ implemented a holistic DWWM system in the Dana biosphere reserve: groundwater pollution is prevented, the effluent is used for irrigation, generated biogas is used for cooking. The applied treatment and reuse approach has the potential for scaling up, especially in distant areas. For any location where wastewater treatment is required, centralized and decentralized solutions should be evaluated and the most feasible one selected. There is no either-or – decentralized and centralized wastewater management must complement each other to achieve universal sanitation coverage.

[Video available in English and soon will be in Arabic]