AMMAN — The Ministry of Water and Irrigation will decide next month on which water billing system to apply after giving citizens an opportunity to weigh in, an official said on Saturday.

The ministry’s decision whether to maintain the current monthly billing system or return to a quarterly system will be primarily based on what consumers want, the ministry’s spokesperson and assistant secretary general Adnan Zu’bi said yesterday.

“We will know which system the consumers want and feel is in their best interest once results of the public survey are out within two or three weeks,” he told The Jordan Times.

Earlier this month, Minister of Water and Irrigation Mousa Jamani said ballot boxes were placed in all water directorates across the Kingdom for subscribers.

Zu’bi noted that citizens can go to their local water directorates and vote to help the ministry decide on whether to keep or change the monthly billing system.

Since the ministry switched to the monthly billing system late last year, many consumers have complained that their water bills have gone up.

The decision was coupled with a rise in water tariffs, which went into effect early in 2011 with the aim of reducing water consumption among large water consumers. The rise in water prices ranged between a minimum of 600 fils and a maximum of JD11 per month depending on consumption patterns.

Hussam Halaweh, a resident of Amman’s Hashemi Al Shamali neighbourhood, said the value of his bill increased when water billing became monthly.

“Our water consumption did not increase, but now I’m paying more money, although they [the ministry] said that the change in water prices will not affect small consumers,” the father of four told The Jordan Times.

Ahmad Salman, a retired serviceman, also said his water bill has increased with the monthly billing system, attributing the rise in costs to problems in the way household water meters are read.

“Water meter readers are not punctual. They don’t check a household’s water consumption precisely at the end of the month; they come a few days later,” the Hay Nazzal resident charged.

He noted that the water bill becomes higher when consumption increases.