The Jordan Valley Authority (JVA) has been the pre-eminent water development agency in the Jordan Valley since its creation in the early 1950s. The growing capability and involvement of other groups and Ministries, the changing valley needs and a new law made it necessary for JVA to change its mission and the type and level of services it offers.
To shape a new future for the agency, it was decided that JVA should go through a rigorous and public strategic planning process. This planning process was led by a steering committee composed of all relevant stakeholders and various working groups. Stakeholder participation was ensured through a series of information meetings and workshops to collect comments and input before completing the plan. This has resulted in a detailed and thoroughly vetted written strategic plan.
In the Jordan Valley, JVA is decreasing its role as a service provider and beginning to increase private sector involvement in providing water services. As a result of the strategic planning process, the institution will become more of a regulatory entity, performing the government functions of monitoring and control of water service providers.
The strategic planning process created conditions under which all stakeholders are involved, present their respective positions, and negotiate to achieve acceptable solutions to the proposed institutional reform. Relevant stakeholders included other Ministries, farmers groups in the valley and existing and potential landowners.
Legislative reform was necessary to establish JVA`s new regulatory functions. As the public entity, JVA must have the capacity and capability to monitor and regulate service delivery to ensure adequate provision at reasonable and equitable prices. Increasing private sector involvement requires adequate government regulation and an institutional framework that enables the public and private partners to achieve the common objective.
Financial sustainability of JVA`s operations is of paramount importance. In this respect the relevant legislation must allow JVA to collect and manage revenues from its respective activities, for example, the sale of water and the lease or sale of lands.
The human resources impact is a major challenge associated with implementing the Strategic Plan. The Government of Jordan must develop a strategy to reduce over-staffing, but more importantly it should focus on adequately training its personnel and ensuring it has a strategy to retain the best personnel in the future.
The private sector can play an important role in providing water services. The management contracts must be devised to allow for adequate incentives for the private sector to take responsibility of existing assets, operations, investments and customer service. Conversely, the government`s ability to control the private sector must not be diluted.
A successful integration and adaptation of the Strategic Plan for JVA is dependent upon continued participation from JVA policy leaders and senior-level management and active engagement from regional stakeholders, most importantly farmers in the Jordan Valley, who depend most directly upon JVA for water management and distribution.
Importance of the case for IWRM
The case illustrates how an integrated strategic planning process can create conditions under which all stakeholders can be involved in the proposed institutional reform. The case describes how the JVA worked to secure water supplies and overcome inequalities in water allocation to efficiently and economically meet user expectations.