By Hana Namrouqa – Apr 18,2016

AMMAN — Authorities on Monday uncovered a new case of water theft in south Amman, under which 3,840 cubic metres of water were being diverted daily for the irrigation of crops, an official said.

The diverted water is equal to the daily share of 48,000 individuals, since the daily water per capita share in Jordan is 80 litres, according to official figures.

Based on reports about water violations in Jizah and complaints of dropping water allocations, a team from the Water Authority of Jordan, the Jordan Water Company (Miyahuna) and security forces surveyed the area to discover illegal fixtures diverting water from a 600-millimetre main pipeline that supplies Jizah, the official, who preferred to remain unnamed, said.

“A 2km plastic pipeline was diverting 160 cubic metres of water per hour to irrigate nearby farms and greenhouses. The team removed the violation and fixed the main pipeline,” the official told The Jordan Times.

An investigation is currently under way to identify the perpetrators and also the owners of the farms and lands which were being irrigated using the stolen water, the official source added.

Highlighting that the ministry’s campaign to end water violations on the water network and resources is still under way, the official said the prosecutor general is currently looking into hundreds of water theft cases.

Since the launch of the campaign in 2013, authorities removed 22,305 violations on water mains and resources, and sealed 747 illegal wells.

The ministry banned the drilling of wells in 1997 to curb random pumping of water and preserve aquifers from depletion and salinity. Its estimates indicate that there are still 1,100-1,200 illegal wells across the country.

Sealing illegal wells and stopping attempts to dig new ones across the country have resulted in saving 80 million cubic metres of underground water over the past three years, while ending violations on water networks and resources has succeeded in saving 30mcm of freshwater that was being diverted from main carriers, according to recent figures from the ministry.
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