By Hana Namrouqa – Jun 18,2015 – Last updated at Jun 18,2015

Pumps installed illegally on water meters in several areas in Karak were diverting some 2,880 cubic metres of water daily to nearby farms for the irrigation of trees, according to the Water Ministry

AMMAN — The Ministry of Water and Irrigation is estimating the amount and cost of water consumed at 20 properties in Karak Governorate whose water meters had been tampered with, a government official said on Thursday.

During a comprehensive inspection of water networks, resources and meters in Karak, 140km south of Amman, the ministry discovered the 20 gauges, which were giving false readings of the water amounts consumed, added the ministry official, who preferred to remain unnamed.

“The violators were referred for legal action. Unless they pay the fines and the estimated cost of the consumed water, the water supply to their properties will be suspended,” the official told The Jordan Times.

In addition, the ministry issued warnings to five subscribers who installed pumps directly on the water meters to increase the amount of pumped water, the official said, noting that the pumps reduced the supply of adjacent households.

The inspections were carried out in Karak’s Samrah, Shehabiyeh, Bakie and Sakka towns, where authorities also discovered four violations on water mains.

“The illegal fixtures were diverting some 2,880 cubic metres of water daily to nearby farms for the irrigation of trees. The illegal pipes were dismantled and the violators were identified and referred for legal action,” the official said.

Karak, which has a population of over 170,000 according to official figures, is home to several of the country’s main wells, streams and dams.

Water per capita in Karak stands at 165 litres per day, which the Water Ministry regards as above average.

However, 60 per cent of the supplied water is lost through leakage due to violations and deteriorated networks, pipes and pumping stations.

The inspection of water mains and resources in the southern governorate is part of nationwide campaign launched in July 2013 to end violations on the water network, as water theft accounts for 70 per cent of water loss in the Kingdom.

Since the ministry launched the campaign, more than 16,072 illegal fixtures on pipes have been dismantled across the country, while 644 illegal wells were sealed.