Chicago Sister Cities International, Amman Committee, hosts delegation at MWRD to discuss water resilience

News & Events | July 10th, 2024

The Chicago Sister Cities International (CSCI), Amman Committee, a division of World Business Chicago (WBC), recently joined the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) in hosting a delegation from Jordan’s capital city to discuss water resilience and sustainable practices.

The event was organized by MWRD Chairman of Finance Marcelino Garcia, MWRD Vice President Patricia Theresa Flynn, the office of MWRD President Kari K. Steele, Sam Odeh, Chair, CSCl, Amman Committee, and Professor Said Al-Hallaj, member of the CSCI, Amman Committee.

“The MWRD welcomes the opportunity to foster global education, international business, and government exchange to find possible solutions,” said Chairman Garcia. “We were so pleased to host this very engaged delegation from Amman where water-saving practices, energy management, and supply are all topics we have in common. This is just the beginning of a learning exchange, and I look forward to continued discussions.”

Dr. Catherine O’Connor, MWRD director of engineering, provided an overview of the agency’s history, operations, projects, and examples of climate and operational resiliency. She emphasized the importance of global collaboration in addressing water issues and finding sustainable solutions.

“Becoming carbon neutral in the water reclamation arena in the U.S. will be the carbon equivalent of doubling the size of our national parks,” said Dr. O’Connor. “This achievement will not only enhance environmental sustainability but it also sets a precedent for others to follow.”

Other prominent figures from the Amman delegation included:

  • Dr. Yousef Al Shawarbeh, Mayor of Amman
  • Mr. Riyad Kharabsheh, Executive Director for Transportation, city of Amman
  • Nabeel Aljariri, Deputy City Manager for Public Works and Infrastructure, city of Amman
  • Ms. Lubna Huneiti, Project Manager, city of Amman
  • Ms. Njoud Salah Abdeljawad, Manager of International Relations and Technical Support Department, city of Amman
  • Maher Matalka, Co-Vice Chair, The Supreme Committee, city of Amman
  • Wissam Rabadi, Head of Export Jordan
  • Valentina Qussisiya, CEO of Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation
  • Adrienne Tongate, Executive Vice President, World Business Chicago

Jordan faces significant challenges in water management, including losing up to half of its water through leaky pipes and theft, and agriculture consumes over 50 percent of the water supply. The country’s ecosystem, spanning multiple biomes, faces biodiversity loss and degradation due to overuse of underground water sources. Efforts taken to date to address these challenges involve strengthening regulations and infrastructure and promoting behavioral changes among consumers and policymakers. Achievements in water and sanitation services include the construction of wastewater treatment plants and the installation of smart meters, leak detection equipment, and monitoring systems.

“The collaboration between the Chicago Sister Cities Committee of Amman and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago underscores the importance of international partnerships in addressing critical water resilience and sustainability challenges,” said Professor Al-Hallaj. “By sharing knowledge and best practices, we can enhance our efforts to ensure a secure and sustainable water future for both Chicago and Amman.”

“Water security is a critical concern in Jordan, and the delegation has highlighted the pressing need for sustainable water management solutions to ensure their residents have access to clean and reliable water sources,” said Vice President Flynn. “By continuing to foster collaboration and dialogue, we can unite to address the challenges of water scarcity and continue to envision a more resilient future for Amman. We look forward to continuing and strengthening this valuable partnership.”

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