3 articles

‘Ministry revamping, drilling wells in south to meet rising water demand’
Farmers should seal illegal agricultural wells by year end — Water Ministry
‘Projected pipeline to convey water from King Abdullah Canal to Irbid’

‘Ministry revamping, drilling wells in south to meet rising water demand’
by Hana Namrouqa | Jul 12, 2014

AMMAN — The Ministry of Water and Irrigation is rehabilitating and drilling new wells in the south to meet an increasing demand for water during summer, a government official said Saturday.

The Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) has started rehabilitating Al Qatraneh wells to raise their capacity, an official at the Water Ministry said.

Al Qatraneh wells have long been one of the sources supplying the capital with part of its water needs, but following the inauguration of the Disi Water Conveyance Project last year, the ministry diverted Al Qatraneh wells’ water to Karak Governorate, 140km south of Amman, to improve its water supply.

Al Qatraneh wells pump 12,000 cubic metres of water per day to Karak, according to figures from the ministry, which indicated that water supply from the wells will increase once the rehabilitation project is completed.

In addition, WAJ started drilling a new well in Hassa in Tafileh Governorate, 180km south of the capital, to raise water amounts in the south, the official said on condition of anonymity.

The projects are part of the second phase of the ministry’s water emergency plan, which was announced last week to deal with the increasing demand for water with the onset of summer and the fasting month of Ramadan, as well as the influx of tourists, expatriates and Syrian refugees, he added.

Under the emergency plan, the ministry will also establish a water reservoir in Eimeh village in Tafileh to store 1,000 cubic metres of water to supply the village’s residents with extra water, in addition to plans to establish during another reservoir in Hassa this year at a cost of JD100,000 to increase water supply in the southern governorate.

In addition, the ministry last week started pumping water from Lajjoun wells to address water shortage in Karak, the official said, noting that rehabilitation work is under way on Karak’s two main pumping stations, which are expected to begin operating in October this year.

Farmers should seal illegal agricultural wells by year end — Water Ministry

by Hana Namrouqa | Jul 09, 2014

AMMAN — Owners of illegal agricultural wells are required to start procedures for sealing their wells by the end of this year, a government official said on Wednesday.

The Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) will start sealing all illegal agricultural wells across the Kingdom by the end of this year, when a grace period given to farmers by the Cabinet in November 2013 ends, Water Ministry Spokesperson Omar Salameh said.

“The Cabinet endorsed a decision last year allowing farmers using water to irrigate their crops from illegal wells to continue cultivation until the end of 2014,” Salameh added.

“Now that the grace period is about to end, we remind farmers using illegal agricultural wells to prepare for sealing them by the end of this year,” he told The Jordan Times.

The ministry instructed farmers who dug illegal wells to irrigate their crops to coordinate with WAJ for the procedures to seal the wells, Salameh said.

“Owners of illegal agricultural wells are mainly requested not to prepare their lands for Orweh Tashrineyeh cultivations, because the wells will be sealed at the end of this year, thus they will incur losses if they don’t abide by the instructions and the Cabinet decision.”

Orweh tishrineyeh is a local agricultural term that refers to winter crops planted at the end of each year, when farmers grow vegetables in the Jordan Valley. Different kinds of vegetables are cultivated during this period, including cucumber, tomato, aubergines and zucchini.

“The Cabinet decision seeks to end all violations on water resources and protect underground water from further depletion and rising salinity levels,” Salameh noted.

There are over 1,500 illegal agricultural wells across Jordan, the majority of which are found in the Jordan Valley, according to official figures.

The Cabinet decision, which allowed owners of illegal agricultural wells to continue pumping water for irrigation, stipulated that they pay for it and stop cultivating crops that depend on the illegal wells by the end of this year.

In March, WAJ started issuing notifications to owners of illegal agricultural wells, demanding that they pay their fines, which exceed JD24 million.

The notifications detail the name of the debtor and the required cost, which is either estimated according to the terrain of the agricultural unit, the type of crops, the energy consumed, satellite images, or according to the readings of the water gauges, according to the Water Ministry.

If owners of the illegal agricultural wells fail to pay their dues by August 15, authorities will seize their movable and immovable assets and take other legal measures, which also include a travel ban.

The ministry said that owners of illegal wells pay 150 fils per cubic metre for the first 10,000 cubic metres pumped, while the price rises to 250 fils for 10,000-30,000 cubic metres and 500 fils for over 30,000 cubic metres.

‘Projected pipeline to convey water from King Abdullah Canal to Irbid’ – Jordan Times

by Hana Namrouqa | Jul 06, 2014

AMMAN — A pipeline will be established to convey water from King Abdullah Canal to Irbid Governorate to address the surging demand for water due to the ongoing Syrian refugee influx in the northern region, government officials said Sunday.

The project’s studies are in the final phases and its blueprint is almost ready, Water Ministry Spokesperson Omar Salameh said.

“The carrier is one of the main strategic water projects the ministry will implement in the northern region,” Salameh told The Jordan Times.

“As the water sector in the north is witnessing massive pressure due to rising temperatures, the arrival of expatriates and the ongoing influx of Syrian refugees, the resources are generating less water,” he added, noting that “tough water conditions in the north necessitate the implementation of the carrier.”

In a statement released Sunday, Water Minister Hazem Nasser said the carrier will convey 30 million cubic metres of water annually from the King Abdullah Canal to the Wadi Al Arab Pumping Station before it eventually reaches Irbid’s Zabada water reservoir, which is currently under rehabilitation to store 100,000 cubic metres per day.

The project will cost $85 million and international agencies agreed to finance it, according to Salameh.

“Construction on the carrier will commence next year and it will take 16 months to be completed,” he underscored.

The 110-kilometre King Abdullah Canal is supplied by the Yarmouk River. It irrigates 40 per cent of the crops in the Jordan Valley and supplies some 40 per cent of the capital’s water after being treated at the Zai Water Treatment Plant.

Salameh said the project is part of the water emergency plan’s second phase, which Nasser announced on Sunday during a meeting with heads of water directorates across the country and water companies.

Nasser said the second phase seeks to deal with the increasing demand for water with the onset of summer and the holy month of Ramadan, as well as the influx of tourists, expatriates and Syrian refugees.

“The second phase of the Water Authority of Jordan’s emergency plan consists of operating new water resources and redistributing water to districts with shortages.”