By Hana Namrouqa – Feb 06,2016

AMMAN — The Water Ministry said on Saturday it has dismantled 20,478 illegal fixtures on water mains and resources since 2013, adding that it will deploy new technologies to uncover violation attempts.

“Strict, intensified monitoring and inspection using new and advanced technologies will start soon to detect attempted violations on water resources,” an official at the ministry told The Jordan Times over the phone.

The ministry’s teams, he added, will also carry out inspections in different areas and will be escorted by security forces to remove violations.

The official highlighted that utilising state-of-the-art technologies, such as satellite images and remote sensing, to stop water theft and violations on resources is part of the ministry’s ongoing national campaign launched in 2013 to end violations on water networks and resources.

Under the campaign, the Water Ministry and security authorities sealed 713 illegal wells and seized and confiscated 38 drilling rigs, the official said.

The ministry banned the drilling of wells in 1997 to limit random pumping of water and preserve aquifers from depletion and salinity.

“A significant number of water theft cases have been referred to court. We expect their rulings to be announced soon, including hefty fines and imprisonment,” the official underscored.

Water theft in Jordan is blamed for 70 per cent of water loss, according to the ministry, which seeks to save an estimated 35-50 million cubic metres of water stolen or wasted via illegal fixtures and the drilling of illegal wells.

The amended Water Authority of Jordan Law stipulates stiffer penalties against those who abuse any element of the water system.

Those who abuse water carriers and mains, wastewater, pumping, purification or desalination stations; or cause the pollution of water resources, pipes or stations used for drinking water; and dig or are involved in the digging of wells without obtaining a licence, face a prison sentence of up to five years and fines up to JD7,000.

In addition, violators of water and wastewater projects are jailed for up to three years and fined up to JD5,000, according to the amendments.

All penalties stipulated under the law are doubled in the case of repeat offences.
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