The cost of irrigation in the Jordan Valley

image001The Cost of Irrigation Water in the Jordan Valley, a WPP-funded (Water Program of the World Bank) report published this month, looks at innovative ways to better manage water in agriculture in Jordan. It looks at how to improve the irrigation system (from the supply side), and at the efficiency of water use for different crops (from the demand side). It also reviews mechanisms to reduce costs and increase revenue for the Jordan Valley Authority (JVA), which falls under Jordan’s Ministry of Water and Irrigation, and help manage farmers’ demand for water. The report’s analysis shows that the JVA needs to put its tariffs, or prices, up to strengthen its financial sustainability, but that the size of these increases can be reduced if the JVA improves the efficiency of billing and collection or generates savings, for example on electricity use. The more significant the improvements are, the lower the need for large tariff increases—the price at which it sells the water its irrigation pipes to consumers like farmers.

The lessons learned from this study are also of use beyond the Jordan Valley. Many irrigation agencies around the world face similar constraints due to increased demand caused by a rapid growth in income and urbanization, aging infrastructure, and worsening fiscal constraints. Taking a more utility-based approach to irrigation is more viable, particularly because in Jordan, at least, many farmers can, in fact, cope with higher tariffs that accurately reflect the real cost of supplying water at the time it’s used. This is the approach would affect consumers the least. For many farmers, even with higher tariffs for water, the costs of public irrigation tends to be relatively small compared to that of many of their other inputs.

Source: World Bank Blog – Caroline Van den Berg

What should Jordan’s irrigation agency do to keep supplying water?

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