AMMAN (JT) – Prime Minister Samir Rifai on Monday underscored the need to take all necessary measures to prevent the recurrence of the “drinking water shortage crisis” witnessed recently in a number of governorates.

During a tour to the governorates of Zarqa and Jerash yesterday, Rifai underlined the need to develop plans and programmes in advance to deal with any crisis that might occur, particularly when it comes to water and electricity.

“We must take the necessary precautionary measures to avoid crisesة we must have the ability to overcome them in a short time so that citizens do not bear any burden,” the premier said during the tour.

Chairing a meeting attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Nayef Qadi, Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Najjar, and representatives of the water sector in Jerash, Rifai said the government has prepared short, medium and long-term solutions to deal with the water problems in Jerash.

He noted that the Mashtal Feisal project in the governorate will start operating as of next Friday, providing a “partial” solution to the water crisis by generating 300 cubic metres of water per hour.

The prime minister stressed the need to take stringent measures against those who tamper with main water lines or sabotage networks, noting that although the water wasted in Jerash does not exceed 25 per cent – the lowest percentage of wasted water registered in all the Kingdom’s governorates – there is still a need to reduce this proportion.

Rifai toured the Mashtal Feisal project and listened to a briefing on its significance in mitigating the acute water shortage in the area. He called for more coordination among concerned officials to ensure that the project starts operating next week.

Jerash Governor Rabha Dabbas said the governorate still faces a severe shortage in drinking water, stressing the need to look for additional water sources to prevent the recurrence of the crisis in the future. She indicated that the Mashtal Feisal water pumping project will ease the problem but not solve it.

During a meeting in Zarqa Governorate with representatives of the water sector in Zarqa, the premier said the government has learnt from the current water crisis to take precautionary measures to avoid such crises and overcome them in a short time.

He underlined the need for the Water Authority to have a larger water storage capacity, provide electric generators to avoid the effects of power outages, and take into account the growing number of water subscribers, noting that the percentage of wasted water in Zarqa – 45 per cent – is high.

Ahmad Rujoub, director of the Zarqa Water Administration, said there are currently 137,300 water subscribers in Zarqa, noting that 4,782 cubic metres per hour are being pumped in the governorate, down by 550 cubic metres per hour from last year.