Jordan is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world. With its population rapidly growing, the demand for water has increased and is straining the country’s already limited resources. The five-year USAID Water Innovation Technologies (WIT) Program used a market-based approach in Jordan to improve water use efficiency and water conservation in the agricultural sector, in communities, and in households.
Among many lessons from the program are findings from one study on the Economics of Water Savings in Jordan for implementers and donors considering a market-based approach to water-saving projects who want to understand how to measure the cost-effectiveness. The study estimated the cost-effectiveness of investment in each WIT activity in terms of promoting the adoption of water-saving technologies by households, farmers and communities, as well as analyzing the motivation, costs, and benefits of adopting technologies and practices for both private (i.e., suppliers, farmers and households) and public actors (i.e., USAID and implementing partner Mercy Corps).
Agricultural activities to support farmers included demonstration of water-saving technologies, an investment fund to cost-share irrigation equipment for farmers, and investments for suppliers to promote water-saving technologies by compensating them for each cubic meter of water saved by farmers. Household level activities included an investment fund for suppliers to expand their sales network to promote water-saving technologies, a loan fund for community based organizations that disbursed micro and small loans to households to buy water-saving technologies, social media marketing to raise public awareness, in addition to installing water-saving technologies in schools and communities.
Recommendations for those planning similar efforts in the future include:
Tips for making cost-effectiveness and return on investment analysis relevant for a project:
By Emma Mendez Rossell, former Program Management Specialist for the Water Innovation Technologies (WIT) Project, Mercy Corps International.