By Hana Namrouqa – Jun 13,2016

AMMAN — The authorities on Sunday removed illegal fixtures on a water main in south Amman, through which more than 2,500 cubic metres of drinking water was being diverted daily, according to an official source.

A team from the Water Ministry, the Jordan Water Company (Miyahuna) and security forces inspected the site of the violation after receiving complaints, according to the official, who noted that two illegal fixtures were found installed on the main pipeline.

“The illegal fixtures were diverting over 2,500 cubic metres of fresh water per day from the main water carrier that supplies south Amman from the Qastal pumping station,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

The diverted water is equal to the daily share of 31,250 individuals, since the daily water per capita share in Jordan is around 80 litres, according to official figures.

The stolen water was being diverted to a number of farms situated 300 metres away from the site of the violation, according to the official, who added that the fresh drinking water was being used for the irrigation of crops and vegetables.

In addition, the offenders were collecting the diverted water in agricultural ponds and also filling tankers to sell the water to people, he said.

“The technical teams disconnected the illegal pipes and search is now under way for the owners of the farms,” the official underscored.

The 2014 Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) Law lays down stricter penalties against violators of water networks, as well as those who dig illegal wells and pollute water resources.

Under the new amendments, 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 WAJ water and wastewater projects will be jailed for up to three years and fined up to JD5,000.

All penalties stipulated under the new law will be doubled in the case of repeat offenders.

The official said the ministry will continue its “serious crackdown” on all forms of violations on water resources. A campaign was launched in 2013 to end violations on water networks and seal all illegal wells.