Screen grab of a video showing a father giving a shower to his children.
This amateur video has created a buzz on the Internet in Jordan over the past few days: outside a building owned by the state-owned water distribution company, a man uses one of the company’s taps to give his children a shower. The video, throughout which the children giggle, would have been amusing if it didn’t highlight a problem Jordanians face every day: a severe lack of clean water.
The shower in question took place in front of a regional centre for the water distribution company in the town of Zarqa, 60 kilometres north-east of the Jordanian capital, Amman. The cameraman begins by filming the company’s water tank trucks, on the sides of which are written the words “drinkable water”. The camera then approaches a man in the middle of soaping his children. Facing the camera (at 2 minutes 50 seconds into the video), the man later identified as Haytham Dhafer first declines to give his identity, then goes on to complain about the months of water cuts his neighbourhood has endured. He explains he is doing this – a day before the new school year starts – because he wants to make sure his children are clean for school. He says he has alerted local authorities about the water situation in his area, but nothing has been done.
The man’s actions became a talking point on the Internet in Jordan, so much so that a newspaper called the Water Ministry and demanded answers about the water cuts in Zarqa. The ministry’s spokespeople
stated that water is being supplied to the local population, and denied ever receiving a complaint from Dhafer. Management at the local water distribution centre also said that 85% of households
in Zarqa received drinkable water.
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Jordan is one of the worst-affected countries in terms of fresh water distribution, with an average of 150 cubic metres of water per person. The global average is 6,800 cubic metres. There is considered to be a water shortage if the average per person is less than 1,000 cubic metres.