Modeling Household Water Consumption in a Hydro-Institutional System – The Case of Jordan

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Christian J. A. Klassert1,2, Erik Gawel1,2, Bernd Klauer2 and Katja Sigel2, (1)University of Leipzig, Chair of Economics / Institutional Environmental Economics, Leipzig, Germany, (2)Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ Leipzig, Department of Economics, Leipzig, Germany
Jordan faces an archetypal combination of high water scarcity, with a per capita water availability of around 150 CM per year significantly below the absolute scarcity threshold of 500 CM, and strong population growth, especially due to the Syrian refugee crisis. This poses a severe challenge to the already strained institutions in the Jordanian water sector. The Stanford-led G8 Belmont Forum project “Integrated Analysis of Freshwater Resources Sustainability in Jordan” aims at analyzing the potential role of water sector institutions in the pursuit of a sustainable freshwater system performance. In order to do so, the project develops a coupled hydrological and agent-based model, allowing for the exploration of physical as well as socio-economic and institutional scenarios for Jordan’s water sector.

The part of this integrated model in focus here is the representation of household behavior in Jordan’s densely populated capital Amman. Amman’s piped water supply is highly intermittent, which also affects its potability. Therefore, Amman’s citizens rely on various decentralized modes of supply, depending on their socio-economic characteristics. These include water storage in roof-top and basement tanks, private tanker supply, and the purchase of bottled water. Capturing this combination of centralized and decentralized supply modes is important for an adequate representation of water consumption behavior: Firstly, it will affect the impacts of supply-side and demand-side policies, such as reductions of non-revenue water (including illegal abstractions), the introduction of continuous supply, support for storage enhancements, and water tariff reforms. Secondly, it is also necessary to differentiate the impacts of any policy on the different socio-economic groups in Amman.

In order to capture the above aspects of water supply, our model is based on the tiered supply curve approach, developed by Srinivasan et al. in 2011 to model a similar situation in Chennai, India. To tailor our model to the situation in Amman, we rely on sectoral data, existing literature analyses and expert discussions with Jordanian water sector representatives. Our modeling approach allows us to directly compare policies affecting both centralized and decentralized elements of the system within a common framework.