On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Blumont and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH are implementing a project at the King Talal Dam to support water access and availability in Jordan. The new effort will reduce the impact of sedimentation and erosion by regulating and controlling floods and water flow in the upper part of the Zarqa River through construction and restoration activities, as well as improved land and resource management.
King Talal Dam is one of the largest dams in Jordan, with a total capacity of 76.5 million cubic meters. Since opening more than 43 years ago, the dam has lost approximately 20 percent of its capacity due to sedimentation and severe land erosion around the river. The dam’s continued operation is more critical now than ever, with increased water demands in the area for both agricultural and daily life purposes.
“The King Talal Dam is an important part of Jordan’s water infrastructure and protecting it supports broader efforts to improve management and use of this vital resource,” said Jonathan Nash, President and CEO of Blumont. “Implementing this project while creating livelihood opportunities for the community helps to further strengthen a foundation for economic development.”
“This project plays a large role in reducing dam sediments. The amount of water stored in any dam does not represent the actual quantity of water that can be used for drinking or agricultural purposes due to evaporation and the accumulation of large amounts of silt and sediment over the years,” said Engineer Manar Al Mahasneh, the Secretary-General for the Jordan Valley Authority. “The Jordan Valley Authority is taking all possible measures to intensify all available capabilities and efforts, including construction work such as placing ripraps on culverts inlets and outlets located near the tributary valleys to prevent and reduce the occurrence of erosion, constructing Gabion Walls to reduce collapses and erosion, and cleaning and maintaining check dams. These efforts aim to prolong the life span of dams and make optimal use of the available water reserves while increasing storage capacity.”
The project will provide temporary employment opportunities to 500 vulnerable Jordanians and Syrian refugees in areas surrounding the Zarqa River and King Talal Dam. Community members will be hired to support work including installation of irrigation networks, tree plantings, sediment removal, and construction of flood mitigation structures. Blumont will also conduct outreach to increase local communities’ knowledge of soil erosion and flood mitigation in agricultural lands to help protect the area surrounding the dam.
The King Talal Dam protection project is part of the “Protecting Water Dams in Jordan through Labor-Intensive Activities – Cash for Work” project which is being implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in partnership with Blumont and the Jordan Valley Authority. Through this project, Syrian refugees and Jordanians in the host communities help protect dams and water resources while obtaining income in return for their efforts to implement project activities. To prevent soil erosion, laborers construct check dams, terraces, dry stone walls, and plant trees on the mountainsides. These efforts help maintain the storage capacity of the dams, which protects irrigation agriculture and drinking water in the medium and long-term.
“The Dams Protection Project aims to preserve the water storage capacity of dams in Jordan by reducing soil erosion, which will lead siltation in dams, by employing skilled and unskilled Jordanian and Syrian laborers after they receive training,” said Engineer Aladdin Hiyasat manager of the Soil erosion Component of the GIZ Project. “The project has created more than 12,000 temporary job opportunities in all governorates of the Kingdom since 2017, 20 percent of which employed women in addition to employing persons with disabilities and providing post-employment services. The project also provides training on modern sediment measurement techniques and the necessary equipment and materials needed to improve dam management.”
For more than two decades, Blumont teams around the world have worked to help individuals and communities overcome challenges and create a foundation for progress. The organization’s experience and expertise include humanitarian assistance, construction or rehabilitation of critical social infrastructure, governance, agriculture, and economic development.
Blumont has worked with host communities, vulnerable people, and Syrian refugees in Jordan. The King Talal Dam project marks a new partnership between GIZ and Blumont. On behalf of the BMZ/German Government, Blumont is also cooperating with GIZ in Iraq to support people returning to their home communities and rebuilding their lives and livelihoods after displacement.