by Hana Namrouqa | Aug 02, 2012

AMMAN — Security forces will soon implement a campaign to protect the Kingdom’s water resources from recurring vandalism, violations and theft, officials said on Thursday.

The campaign will target areas categorised as “hotspots”, where theft of water and equipment recur, such as south Amman, the Jordan Valley, Mafraq and Zarqa, Ministry of Water and Irrigation Spokesperson Omar Salameh said.

“We are providing the Public Security Department (PSD) with a list of locations that require protection, either because of their importance or because they witness recurring theft and vandalism,” Salameh told The Jordan Times.

He underscored that violations involving wells and the network, whether by stealing water or equipment, is depriving people of their water share and magnifying the water crisis in the country.

“Scores of water resources from which around 1,870 cubic metres of water were pumped per hour remain shut down because of violations and theft,” Salameh added.

PSD Spokesperson Lt. Col. Mohammad Khatib noted that the department will also receive the names of suspected violators from the ministry.

“We will provide the police directorates in the Kingdom’s three regions with the list of locations that need protection and the names of suspected violators… the PSD will also coordinate with district governors to end violations,” Khatib told The Jordan Times.

He added that the campaign comes following a meeting last week between officials from the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, the Ministry of Interior and the PSD to address the rising number of violations on water resources and pipelines.

Authorities declined to comment on when the campaign would start due to “security reasons”.

Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Najjar said last month that theft and vandalism of water resources were rising alarmingly and becoming the main obstacles to supplying the public with sufficient water.

A total of 28 violations on the Kingdom’s main water networks were recorded by mid-May this year, according to the ministry’s figures, which also indicated that 52 violations were registered in 2010 and 50 last year.

In statements to the press, Najjar said that fixing violations to the networks and water resources this year has cost the ministry JD105,300, while pumping from 50 resources remains suspended because additional funds of around JD300,000 are required to fix them.

If violations continue, he warned, more water will be lost, while the ministry will lose between JD700,000 and JD800,000.

Salameh noted that a media campaign will be conducted in tandem with the security campaign to raise public awareness about the impact of water violations on individuals.