15.06.2017 12:45 Category: News from BORDA West and Central Asia
by Sophia von Dobschuetz, BORDA WESCA

Sustainable Sanitation for Eco-Lodges in Jordan

Jordan ranks amongst the world’s most water-scarce countries, while at the same time the limited water resources are being heavily overused. The imbalance between water needs and availability in the country is exacerbated by rapid population growth and the constant refugee influx from the neighbouring countries during the past 70 years.

In cooperation with the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Royal Society for Conservation of Nature, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, and the Water Authority of Jordan, BORDA is working on an integrated wastewater reuse project with a biogas component for the Feynan Ecolodge. Deep in the heart of the mountainous Dana Biosphere Reserve, Feynan Ecolodge is located in a magnificent landscape on the caravan routes of ancient times. Isolated from paved roads and electricity supplies, the lodge implements a concept of environment-friendly accommodation and socially and environmentally responsible tourism. The lodge is solar-powered, hires staff locally, and involves the local Bedouin community in onsite projects. The lodge’s fine decorations, including the candles that light it through the tranquil desert nights, are handcrafted by local artisans.


Currently, the lodge lacks an adequate wastewater system, resulting in environmental pollution and the waste of a resource that is particularly scarce in the area. BORDA is developing a sustainable low-maintenance solution incorporating different modules of a close-to-nature system that uses indigenous plants as well as local filter material. The treated wastewater will be reused for irrigation of native trees and biogas will be generated for cooking, complementing Feynan Ecolodge’s holistic approach. The system will ensure that the treated wastewater reaches the local effluent requirements for safe reuse, and it will also create a natural micro-climate around the lodge.


To identify an appropriate solution for the new biological treatment system, BORDA’s team collaborated with an external expert specialized in close-to-nature systems in the MENA region. The sensitive local context was of special concern, as Feynan Ecolodge is located in an environmentally protected area where only native reed plants can be introduced. In close communication with the operator, the stakeholders and the local staff, the BORDA team has taken an important step: choosing an appropriate filter material on-site and identifying, collecting and potting native reed plants. This process allowed useful insights into the design and construction of close-to-nature systems. Another important step: the team has identified the process of sludge mineralization as a suitable solution for sludge treatment in the Jordanian context. This process—using a close-to-nature system to transform highly concentrated sludge into a useful resource—is a new approach in Jordan.