by Hana Namrouqa | Oct 13, 2014

Authorities have dismantled over 11,625 illegal pipes since the Water Ministry launched a nationwide campaign in August last year to end violations on the water network (Photo courtesy of Water Ministry)

AMMAN — The authorities sealed 45 illegal wells in September within an ongoing campaign to end all violations on water networks and resources, officials at the Ministry of Water and Irrigation said on Monday.

Also last month, more than 577 pipes illegally installed on water mains were dismantled and two drilling rigs were seized and confiscated, a ministry statement quoted Water Minister Hazem Nasser as saying.

Nasser added that over 11,625 illegal pipes have been dismantled, a total of 432 illegal wells have been sealed and 152 drilling rigs have been seized and confiscated since the ministry launched a nationwide campaign in August last year to end violations on the water network.

The ministry banned the drilling of water wells in 1997 to limit random pumping of water and preserve aquifers from depletion and salinity. There are 1,318 wells across the country, more than 400 of which are unlicensed or illegal, according to official figures.

Water Ministry Spokesperson Omar Salameh said the ministry and security forces will continue with the crackdown on water violations across the country, noting that water theft is responsible for 70 per cent of the Kingdom’s water loss.

The amended Water Authority of Jordan Law stipulates stiffer penalties against those who abuse any element of the water system.

Those who abuse water carriers and mains, wastewater, pumping, purification or desalination stations; or cause the pollution of water resources, pipes or stations used for drinking water; and dig or are involved in the digging of wells without obtaining a licence, will be jailed for up to five years and fined up to JD7,000.

In addition, violators of water and wastewater projects will be jailed for up to three years and fined up to JD5,000, according to the new amendments.

All penalties stipulated under the new law are doubled in the case of repeat offences.—-water-ministry