By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Water sector experts and decision makers on Thursday called for stricter enforcement of water-related laws and regulations for better protection of Jordan’s scant water resources.

They said laws and regulations protecting the country’s water resources exist, but criticised their weak enforcement, which allows for violations and thus depletion of the precious resource.

During a workshop organised by the USAID-funded Public Action in Water, Energy and Environment Project and the National Campaign for Public Awareness of the Drivers of Change, participants analysed consumption patterns in agriculture, households and large establishments, such as hotels and hospitals.

“In order to achieve behavioural change in water consumption patterns, it is vital to first enforce existing laws and we have a problem with that. We have laws that regulate all sectors but without proper enforcement,” Public Action Project Chief-of-Party Amer Jabarin told The Jordan Times yesterday.

He said weak law enforcement is giving rise to theft, which accounted for 20-22 per cent of Jordan’s water loss of 42 per cent by the end of 2010.

After reviewing water laws and regulations, participants concluded that there is a need to draft legislation regulating water consumption in apartment buildings.

“There are no laws or regulations that oblige housing units to install water saving devices or use grey water system,” Maha Durgham, capacity building and NGO specialist at the Public Action Project, told The Jordan Times.

She noted that there are “negative or optional” laws and regulations such as those stipulating that every household must build a well for storing water.

“The same law allows people to choose not to build a well by paying a minimal fee,” Durgham said.

Participants also criticised laws that allow farmers to extract 1,500 cubic metres of water from underground wells free of charge and for activating green building codes for efficient use of water and energy.