A refurbishment project with German participation in Jordan is aiming at modernizing and thus securing the water supply for the city of Madaba. One-third of the project financing was provided by the GIZ (German Society for International Cooperation) with two-thirds coming from future cost savings. This is made possible by the deployment of efficient pumps from the Dortmund company, Wilo, at the Wala and Libb pump stations.
For many people in Jordan, having adequate drinking water is not something they can take for granted because the country’s geographical conditions make extraction immensely difficult. Furthermore, the country has barely any natural resources and is therefore considered to be poor. Developing a modern and futureproof yet affordable water supply system there calls for innovative solutions. Just how this may be structured and financed is demonstrated by the Wala-Libb project, in which the Dortmund pump manufacturer, Wilo, is involved.
Steep wadis hamper infrastructural link-up
Wala and Libb are located in the mountain region of eastern Jordan, close to Madaba, the ancient “City of Mosaics”. There, around 30 kilometres south of the country’s capital city, Amman, the landscape is riven by steep-walled valleys. These so-called wadis, engraved by riverbeds bearing water only after strong rainfalls, dissect the tableland on which the majority of settlements are located. “That is precisely the problem,” says Dr. Amer Mokbel, Wilo’s Sales Area Manager Gulf. “The differences in altitude between the Jordan Valley and the tableland can be as much as 1,400 metres and the groundwater—the only source of water in the area—lies very deep in the earth. Conveying this life-giving water to the people on the tableland is therefore a very complicated matter.”
Altitude of altogether 700 metres overcome to secure water supply
The elevated city of Madaba is also affected by this difficulty. Two stages are required in order to raise the drinking water extracted at a depth of 250 metres up to the city. The pump station in Wala, located in the valley, transports the water halfway up the slope to the Libb pump station from where it is then conveyed to Madaba. In doing this, the supply system overcomes an altitude of 460 metres. “In past years, outdated, inefficient and increasingly dilapidated technical equipment had been causing still more problems,” Dr. Amer Mokbel reports. “It was therefore urgently necessary to upgrade the pumps in order to ensure that the people of Madaba were adequately and reliably supplied with water. However, the Jordan water authority was unable to finance this project.” Working together, three project partners came up with a way of undertaking the 440,000 euro upgrade without equity capital.
Energy saving finances construction project
The financing concept foresees that one-third of the entire amount will be provided by the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit) from its fund for Development Partnerships with the Private Sector. The operator—the Jordanian water supply company, Miyahuna—will cover the remaining two-thirds, solely from the savings achieved through the efficient operation of the upgraded plant. This calculation works out thanks to pumps from manufacturer, Wilo, which use highly efficient technology. These modern pump models have an efficiency factor of up to 75 per cent, thus far outstripping the old equipment which achieved a factor of 30 to 50 per cent. The resulting reduction in energy consumption and operating costs makes the high-tech project financeable. “Wilo provided pre-financing of the construction work for three years,” Dr. Amer Mokbel explains. The pump producer is acting here as a partner of the Jordanian consulting engineering main contractor, Engicon, which handles many public-sector construction projects in the water sector. “Engicon receives part of the returns from the energy savings and reimburses Wilo’s outlay on a six-monthly basis.” In this way the financing is to be paid off within three years under the terms of the contract signed in December 2013.
The new pumps—high-performing, robust and reliable
The delivery of the pumps, their installation and their commissioning will take place in April. The Wala pump station will receive four pumps, and a further four will be installed in Libb. Wilo will not only be delivering the pumps, but will also oversee their installation and the start of operations. Furthermore, employees of the central workshop in Zarqa—which services and repairs all of the country’s pumps—will be trained on the new models. It is not only their high performance and efficiency that sets these pumps apart: because of their robust construction they can also work reliably under difficult operating and unfavourable climatic conditions. At Wala and Libb the pumps with output of 315 kilowatts and a maximum delivery height of 232 metres, will produce a volume flow of 1400 m³/h. The aim is to provide Madaba with 7 to 9 million cubic metres of water per annum.
Quality management for the central workshop
Wala-Libb is already the third project that Wilo is undertaking in Jordan. The company’s good links with the country were formed in 2006 when the GIZ was looking for a manufacturer of pressure shroud pumps as a cooperation partner for a lengthier assignment in Jordan. The idea was that repair and servicing plans would be drawn up for all pumps owned by the state, which were looked after by the country’s central workshop. Owing to its long-standing experience in this area, Wilo was awarded the contract: Employees from the German company spent one year assisting staff at Jordan’s central workshop to draw up new work plans, optimise processes, and set up a quality management system in line with modern standards. To make these results sustainable, the workshop employees were given comprehensive training. Given the good working relationship, the Jordanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation, and the Water Authority Jordan registered the Dortmund company as a reliable project partner.
High efficiency helps cut CO2 and costs
Wilo had another opportunity to work in Jordan in 2009 when the Water Authority Jordan, which is responsible for the operation of all water plant, sought manufacturers of high-efficiency pumps as part of a pilot project in conjunction with the GIZ. The object of the project was to save energy and reduce CO2 emissions. As Jordan’s biggest consumer of electricity, the authority, which uses 15 per cent of the country’s electricity with its pump operations, has a very special interest in making Jordan’s water management system more eco-friendly and less expensive. The main focus here was on obsolete pumps which, in many cases, had an efficiency factor of only 20 per cent. Within the scope of the International Climate Protection Initiative, launched by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, the authority contracted Wilo to modernize the Ebquoreyeh pump station. The manufacturer succeeded in exceeding the specified targets: Since then 40 per cent of the electricity previously required for operation is now being saved, thanks to the high efficiency of the Wilo pumps. After just one year the investment costs of 300,000 euros had been amortised. The newspaper, Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, described the project as “a successful combination of business, ecology and help for self-help” (June 17, 2012).
Quality can be financed as well
The current project in Wala-Libb continues this excellent working relationship. “For us it is important not only to deliver the pumps, but also to work on achieving an exact fit for the given use,” says Dr. Amer Mokbel. “At Wilo we understand energy efficiency, the responsible treatment of resources and the environment, and the development of innovative concepts. We use this specialist knowledge to help our clients find and implement customised and optimised solutions.” The Syrian expert also has a personal interest in projects such as Wala-Libb: “Quality pays for itself. I would like this to be more broadly recognised in the countries of the Middle East.” He says that, too often, people opt for cheap products that break down quickly and jeopardize supply security, “even though it is also possible to finance better quality acquisitions, as Wala-Libb proves.” The modernisation of the two pump stations should be completed before summer so that Madaba’s supply is secure during the hot season.