Access to Water and Tensions in Jordanian Communities Hosting Syrian Refugees
1 August 2013 - 30 March 2014
Focus Group Discussion, Community Key informant
||REACH, with support from the British Embassy in Amman, undertook a large assessment in Jordanian host
communities focusing on prioritization of needs, vulnerabilities and tensions that have emerged as a result of the
Syrian refugee crisis. The assessment was undertaken over a six month time period between August 2013 and
March 2014 and included a series of data collection and analysis exercises. First, a desk review was conducted
to outline the broad challenges, needs and priorities in Jordan as a result of the Syrian refugee crisis. The
findings from this desk review informed the methodology for a key informant assessment in 446 communities in
the six northern governorates of Ajloun, Balqa, Irbid, Jarash, Al Mafraq and Zarqa.18
Findings from the key informant assessment were then used to select the 160 host communities most at risk of
high tension and insecurity, which were identified based on having the lowest level of resilience.19 REACH then
undertook a community-level assessment of Jordanians and Syrians living in these 160 communities from
December 2013 until early March 2014. Administration of questionnaires and eight focus group discussions
(FGDs) with on average 6 participants per group were undertaken in each of these communities. During the
targeted assessment phase 7,158 individual questionnaires were completed and 1,280 FGDs with Jordanians
and Syrians. [See Annex I for geographical representation of the specific time frame during which each
community was assessed.]
In addition, REACH hosted six participatory workshops with local government representatives from the six
sampled governorates during January and February 2014. The aim of these workshops was to gain a better
understanding of perceptions, challenges and needs of local government institutions in providing support to host
communities and incoming refugees. In particular, these workshops sought to identify the priority sectors in each
governorate to inform programming around social cohesion and resilience. They thereby complemented the
community-level data collection to illustrate a comprehensive and nuanced perspective of vulnerabilities and
challenges to resilience in Jordanian host communities.
Displaced - Others of Concern, Non-Displaced - Non-Hosts, Other Refugee Urban / Rural Population, Non-Displaced - Host
Individual accommodation (not hosted), Collective centres
Community, Individual, Other
In Jordan, few comprehensive studies have been conducted to provide an in-depth understanding of the key
drivers of host community tensions. To address this information gap, this multi-sectoral REACH assessment
aimed at identifying where tensions have emerged across northern Jordan as a result of the Syrian refugee
crisis, and how they could be mitigated through social cohesion and resilience programming. In the shift from
humanitarian relief to long-term development, the assessment aims to promote and inform the mainstreaming of
a ‗Do No Harm‘ approach in the response provided to conflict-affected populations residing in Jordanian host
communities. Sectors assessed included: education, external support, healthcare, livelihoods, municipal
services, shelter and water.
REACH found water to be a major source of tension in host communities that were estimated to be at relatively high risk of tension at the time of assessment. Key findings include:
66% of Jordanian respondents were dissatisfied with water management services in their community compared to 55% of Syrian respondents.
More Syrians (55%) than Jordanians (43%) considered that there was adequate access to reliable and clean water in their community.
71% of Jordanians and 61% of Syrians stated that access to water caused tension in their community.
30% of respondents cited water shortages as a driver of tension in accessing water in the community. Further reasons for tension were identified, including: poor water management (21%), uneven access to water between Jordanians and Syrians (20%), unreliable water provision (19%), undrinkable water (6%), and water being too expensive (3%).
Female respondents most commonly cited water shortages as causing tension in their community (32%), while the cause for tension most commonly cited by male respondents was uneven access to water between Jordanians and Syrians (31%).
Inadequate water supply has been linked to rising tensions in Jordanian host communities, forcing many to resort to coping mechanisms such as purchasing water from private tankers, digging wells and relying on rainwater collection. A long history of water scarcity has exacerbated negative perceptions of water usage by Syrian refugees. In addition water shortages, uneven access to water between Jordanians and Syrians and poor management of water services have been compounded by the rapid population increase in northern Jordan. Given that Jordan is an arid country, where water is in short supply it is not surprising that tensions surrounding this vital natural resource have surfaced in Jordanian host communities subsequent to the Syrian crisis.
Water Sanitation Hygiene
Syrian Arab Republic