How Bath research could reduce water scarcity in Middle East

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A Jordanian PhD student has come to Bath to investigate how our algae research could help clean wastewater in her country.


As one of the most water-poor countries in the world, Jordan’s current water resources fall significantly below the global water scarcity line. Annual rainfall falls under 50mm in 95% of the country, nearly all the country’s groundwater sources are being seriously overexploited and experts are warning that Jordan could soon face absolute water poverty.

Their geographic location also means that refugee flow, reported in 2014 to be over 600,000, from Syria, Iraq and Palestine puts even more pressure on the chronically scarce resources.

New ways of cutting down water wastage and overuse are in desperate demand and high on the Jordanian government’s agenda. Micro-algae is a diverse group of species with many potential applications including cleaning and improving the quality of wastewater - an application which, at the moment, remains an uncharted possibility in Jordan. This is what has brought Mais Sweiss to Bath.

“There is no one at my university in Jordan who does algae research and only a handful of people in the whole of Jordan doing research in this field”, Mais says.

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