By Hana Namrouqa – Mar 06,2016
Since the launch of a campaign to crack down on water theft in 2013, the Water Ministry has dismantled 21,698 illegal fixtures on water mains and resources (File photo)

AMMAN — The Water Ministry on Sunday urged the public to report violations on the water network, underscoring that the retrieved stolen water over the past three years constitutes 60 per cent of the capital’s annual water allocation.

“Since the launch of a national campaign to end violations on water resources and networks, a total of 110 million cubic metres [mcm] of water were retrieved by sealing and stopping the digging of illegal wells, as well as removing illegal fixtures on water mains,” the ministry’s spokesperson, Omar Salameh, said.

Salameh said the annual water budget for the capital, which is home to 4 million people, stands at 185mcm.

Since — according to official figures — the annual per capita share in Jordan is 123 cubic metres, the 110mcm of retrieved stolen water meets the annual demands of 81,300 people.

In Amman, the Jordan Water Company (Miyahuna) supplies 630,000 subscribers with water and wastewater services, according to the company’s figures, which also indicate that current water loss in the capital stands at around 37 per cent.

“We ask that people cooperate with us and support our ongoing efforts to stop violations on the water network and resources. So many cases were discovered and several violators were referred for legal action because people informed us of the violations,” Salameh told The Jordan Times.

In February, the authorities sealed 13 illegal wells and removed 661 violations on water resources and 177 violations targeting King Abdullah Canal, according to a Water Ministry report reviewed by the Cabinet on Sunday.

Since the launch of the campaign in 2013, the ministry has dismantled 21,698 illegal fixtures on water mains and resources, sealed 735 illegal wells and seized and confiscated 40 drilling rigs, according to official figures carried by the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

The ministry banned the drilling of wells in 1997 to limit random pumping of water and preserve aquifers from depletion and salinity. Its estimates indicate that there are 1,100-1,200 illegal wells across the country.

Under the Water Authority of Jordan Law, those who abuse water carriers and mains, wastewater, pumping, purification or desalination stations; cause the pollution of water resources, pipes or stations used for drinking water; or 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 law.

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