AMMAN (Petra) – The government has no plans to raise water tariffs this year as authorities move forward with a strategy addressing households that consume large quantities of water, a senior official said on Sunday.

Although water tariffs will not be increased in 2010, the ministry has a 10-year plan in place regarding charges for high-consumption households, Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Najjar said in an interview with the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

He added that any future water tariff increases will be linked to an improvement in services.

Noting that a cubic metre of water costs the government JD0.80 while it is sold for JD0.49, Najjar added that 60 per cent of the population consumes JD8-JD10 worth of water per month.

He said the Kingdom will enjoy an abundance of water this summer due to the large amount of rainfall during the winter and the fact that the country’s major dams currently hold about 64 per cent of their total capacity of 225 million cubic metres.

Referring to the Disi Water Conveyance Project, the minister said work is going according to schedule and will be completed by the end of 2013.

The implementation of the project will start in August in eight locations, with the initial process including 55 wells for production and 10 wells for monitoring the quality and quantity of water.

Najjar stressed the government’s commitment to complete the project in a timely manner to provide Amman and its surrounding areas with water.

One of the major problems facing the ministry is the depletion of underground water wells by licensed and unlicensed farms, he said, adding that the ministry focuses on involving the private sector in the water sector.

Meanwhile, the Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) signed an agreement on Sunday with El Concorde Construction Company to establish a wastewater treatment plant in the Marwad area of Karak Governorate.

The JD13 million plant will serve areas of Al Mazar, Al Adnanyyeh and Muta.

The plant, which will be government funded, will have a 7,000-cubic metre daily capacity to serve over 30,000 people, WAJ Secretary General Wajih Oweis said, adding that the plant will be operational within two years.