The Disi water conveyance project is as controversial as it is important. Jordan is among the most water-stressed countries in the world. The conveyor pumps 100 million cubic metres of water a year 325 kilometres from an aquifer that Jordan shares with Saudi Arabia to reservoirs near Amman.

Construction on the scheme began in 2009 and was completed in 2013. Fifty-five wells were dug into the aquifer. Some 120km of collection pipes, two pumping stations, four tanks and one new reservoir were also required. The project was jointly executed by Turkey’s Gama Holding and GE Energy Financial Services of the US under a build-operate-transfer structure, with a 25-year concession.

The water provided by the scheme meets 30 per cent of Amman’s needs and accounts for about 6 per cent of the country’s total consumption.

Both Jordan and Saudi Arabia have accused each other of over-extracting water from the sandstone aquifer. More controversially, there are claims that the water is radioactive. These have been dismissed by the Jordanian government. It is estimated that the water will last for only 50 years as the Disi fossil aquifer is non-renewable.