By Hana Namrouqa – Feb 20,2016

AMMAN — Authorities have removed 15 violations on a main water carrier that supplies Husseiniyeh town in Maan Governorate, a government official said on Saturday.

The violators were diverting hundreds of cubic metres of freshwater daily to wash trucks and cars near the desert road, which links Amman to the southern region, the official at the Ministry of Water and Irrigation said.

“The increasing complaints of weak water supply in Husseiniyeh prompted the ministry to inspect the situation. We found that there are over a dozen violations on the carrier which supplies water to more than 1,000 subscribers,” he told The Jordan Times.

A team from the Water Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the electricity company, the Public Security Department and the Gendarmerie Department raided the sites of the violations late last week.

“Five violators were apprehended and referred for further legal action, while the violations were removed,” the official noted.

The violators were diverting water from the carrier into large water tanks equipped with high-pressure pumps to wash cars and trucks along the sides of the desert road.

The equipment was seized and confiscated, while the damaged pipeline was fixed, the official said.

“Maan Water Directorate will continue inspecting water resources in the area to remove any violations,” he noted.

Located 220 kilometres south of the capital, Maan Governorate’s daily water per capita share stands at 80 litres, according to the ministry, which said that water loss due to deteriorating networks and violations is affecting supply to residents.

The governorate’s population currently stands at 144,083 according to the latest population census conducted late last year.

The ministry launched in 2013 an ongoing campaign to end water theft. Over the past two years, authorities dealt with approximately 20,000 violations on water mains and resources across the Kingdom, sealed 701 illegal wells and seized and confiscated 35 drilling rigs.

The ministry banned the drilling of wells in 1997 to limit random pumping of water and preserve aquifers from depletion and salinity.

Water theft in Jordan is blamed for 70 per cent of water loss, according to the ministry, which seeks to save an estimated 35-50 million cubic metres of water stolen or wasted via illegal fixtures and the drilling of illegal wells.

Under the amended Water Authority of Jordan Law, 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, face a prison sentence of up to five years and fines up to JD7,000.

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

All penalties stipulated under the law are doubled in the case of repeat offences.
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