by Hana Namrouqa | Jul 18, 2013 | 22:54

AMMAN — Pumping from the main pipeline supplying Zarqa with water resumed on Thursday, after authorities fixed the damage inflicted by unknown persons, a government official said.

The perpetrators severely damaged the pipeline while trying to divert water to irrigate their farms, according to Ministry of Water and Irrigation Spokesperson Omar Salameh.

“Maintenance teams from the Water Authority of Jordan started fixing the pipe on Tuesday afternoon and finished earlier today. Pumping has now resumed at full force,” Salameh told The Jordan Times over the phone.

The pipeline conveys water from the Azraq wells to Zarqa, where the majority of residents were left without water on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to WAJ Secretary General Tawfiq Habashneh, who described the damage to the pipe as “the largest by far on a main water pipe”.

The 800-millimetre wide pipeline pumps 500 cubic metres of water per hour from the Azraq wells.

Minister of Water and Irrigation, Hazem Nasser told reporters on Wednesday that the amount of water lost from the broken pipeline was enough to meet the demand of 26,000 subscribers.

Due to the sabotage, which occurred near the Jordan Armed Forces training centre in Zarqa’s Khaw area, water pumping was suspended in vast areas of Zarqa, according to WAJ.

Security forces are investigating the incident to track down the perpetrators, who caused a huge disruption in the water distribution programme and the loss of much-needed water, in addition to placing extra financial burdens on the authority, Habashneh said in a previous statement on Tuesday.

He urged the public to cooperate with the authority and to report violators, who are denying people their share of water.

Over one million people live in Zarqa Governorate, 22km east of Amman, which hosts over 50 per cent of the country’s industries.

Ministry officials say that theft and vandalism of water resources are rising alarmingly and becoming the main obstacle to supplying the public with sufficient water.

Over 55 violations on the Kingdom’s main water networks were recorded last year, according to the ministry’s figures, which also indicated that 50 violations were registered in 2011 and 52 in 2010.