By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Residents of Jerash Governorate, where the water per capita share is the lowest in the Kingdom, are complaining of repeated water cuts which have left some without water during the hottest month of the year.

Jerash residents have threatened to hold protests over continued water shortages in the region, an issue sources at the Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) attributed to a surging demand for water coupled with a delay in the operation of new water wells.

Mahmoud Otoum, a Jerash resident, said each summer, people in Jerash suffer from water cuts and disruptions in the water distribution programme, under which households receive water once every 10 days.

“We are supposed to get water every 10 days, but we actually receive it every 14 days. Sometimes it is once every 21 days and other times we wait for a whole month to get our share,” Otoum told The Jordan Times over the phone yesterday.

Otoum owns a six-cubic-metre roof tank, but said he barely receives two cubic metres from the authority each turn, noting that commercial water tankers are unable to access his house due to road construction.

“When the water is cut, I am forced to bring water by the gallon to my house to meet my family’s needs. This is costly and consumes time and energy,” Otoum said, adding that in more desperate moments, he fetches water from his parents’ home.

A source at WAJ, who requested to remain unnamed as he is not authorised to comment on the issue, attributed the water shortage in Jerash to rising demand with the return of expatriates and record high temperatures. Another major factor, according to the official, is the delay in completing five new water wells.

“Three wells in the Mashtal Feisal area and two wells in the west of Jerash were supposed to start operation in May and generate at least 500 cubic metres of water per hour, an amount that is more than sufficient to meet Jerash’s water needs,” the source told The Jordan Times.

He said the new water wells are now expected to be operational by early September.

The northern governorates, including Mafraq, Irbid, Jerash and Ajloun, suffer from an acute water shortage, caused by limited water resources, violations to main water lines and deteriorating networks, according to officials at the Ministry of Water and Irrigation.

The percentage of water loss in Jerash currently stands at 24 per cent, while daily water per capita in the governorate stands at 75 litres per day, compared to 220 litres Mafraq, 95 litres in Irbid and 80 litres in Ajloun.