By Hana Namrouqa – Jul 14,2015

AMMAN — Authorities have discovered several violations on the water network in the Amman, Ajloun and Balqa governorates, under which a total of 15,000 cubic metres of water were being stolen daily, a government official said on Monday.

The violations, which were discovered this week, entailed digging illegal wells and extending illegal pipelines on main carriers to divert water for irrigating farms and supplying private properties as well as selling water via tankers to consumers, the official, who preferred to remain unnamed, told The Jordan Times.

In Um Al Amad, south of the capital, the Water Authority of Jordan and the Jordan Water Company (Miyahuna) carried out an inspection campaign on pipes, during which they discovered illegal fixtures on an 800-millimetre water main.

“The plastic pipes were diverting water to a farm and a villa to irrigate trees and crops planted on 100 dunums. In addition, the violators built large reservoirs to store stolen water and sell it to people via tankers,” the official said.

The technical teams estimated that a total of 6,000 cubic metres of water were being stolen every day via the illegal pipelines, the official said, adding that the violators were identified and referred to court.

Also in Um Al Amad, the teams discovered that several subscribers intentionally tampered with their water meters, including the owners of a factory in the area, a mansion and a farm, according to the official.

The manipulated meters were fixed, he said, and the violators were referred for legal action, while the technical teams estimated the cost of the tens of thousands of cubic metres of water that were being stolen on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, in the Sbeihi area in Balqa Governorate, authorities received information that the owner of a large farm had drilled an illegal well.

“The farm guards denied entry to our water inspectors, shut the doors and placed dogs in front of the gates. After obtaining orders from the prosecutor and with an escort of security forces, the teams sealed the well and referred the violator for legal action,” the official noted.

In Ajloun Governorate’s Ebbin and Hashimeyeh areas, authorities also dismantled illegal fixtures that were diverting water to a 70-cubic-metre well, according to the official, who said the cost of the stolen water was estimated and the violators were referred to court.

The violations were discovered under an ongoing campaign against water violations, which was launched in July 2013.

Since the nationwide campaign was launched, authorities have sealed over 644 illegal wells, seized and confiscated more than 159 drilling rigs and dismantled over 16,072 illegal fixtures on water pipes and carriers.