By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – The Water Authority of Jordan on Wednesday discovered an illegal water pipe diverting drinking water from the Kafrein Dam to several farms in the Jordan Valley.

The illegal pipe was installed earlier this month and has been diverting the entire output of the Kafrein Dam Desalination Plant that is designated to be delivered to the Kafrein, Rawdah, Ramah, Nahdah and Sweimeh districts, as well as the hotel area on the Dead Sea shore, according to officials.

“The 7.62cm diameter pipe has been pumping 130 cubic metres of water per hour, which is the entire amount desalinated at the plant,” Ministry of Water and Irrigation Assistant Secretary General and Spokesperson Adnan Zu’bi said yesterday.

The violation on the Kafrein Dam’s pipeline is the reason behind water cuts in several of parts of southern Jordan Valley, he noted.

“Water from the desalination plant is pumped to people for drinking purposes, but the violators were diverting the water for irrigating their farms, thus depriving hundreds of households from their water rights,” Zu’bi told The Jordan Times yesterday.

He underscored the financial losses the ministry has incurred as a result of this violation, highlighting the high costs of desalinating water.

Zu’bi noted that the ministry will take legal action against the violators in accordance with the law, which stipulates two-year imprisonment and a heavy fine.

“We urge the public to report any violations on water networks or resources to the ministry in order to preserve people’s right to a clean and constant water supply,” the ministry official said.

Since the beginning of the month, inspection teams from the Water Authority of Jordan have discovered nine violations related to water networks in the same area, which led to a water crisis in several parts of the Jordan Valley, Zu’bi said.

The spokesperson expects the number of registered infringements to increase as the ministry is intensifying campaigns to prevent further violations.