The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is confronted with a severe freshwater crisis shaped by excess water demand and intermittent public supply. In Jordan’s capital and most populous city, Amman, the pervasive water shortage gave rise to private tanker water operations, which transport groundwater from wells in the vicinity of the city and sell it to urban consumers. These tanker water markets have received little attention in the literature up to date, particularly with regard to their relevance for commercial water users. This paper aims to empirically estimate the water demand of commercial establishments in Amman under public supply rationing and to assess to which extent tanker operations contribute to meeting commercial water needs. Building on a prior simulation model of residential water consumption, the results of three extensive surveys concerned with tanker water markets and various geographic data, we develop a spatial agent-based model of the water consumption behavior of commercial establishments in different sizes. According to our estimation, 35–45% of the overall water volume consumed by the commercial sector stems from tanker operations, depending on the season. We find that the local disparities in access to affordable network water, along with the dispersion of groundwater wells around the city, result in considerable spatial differences in tanker water consumption. The outcome of this analysis could be relevant for policy attempting to enhance freshwater sustainability in Jordan.
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