Ministry hails decision as ‘another victory’ in campaign against water violations

By Hana Namrouqa – Jul 01,2017

Tanks allegedly containing stolen water hidden in the backyard of a building in a north Amman neighbourhood (Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation)

AMMAN — A man caught last year for stealing over 1,200 cubic metres of water daily has been sentenced to one year in prison and fined JD2,000, a government official said on Saturday.

The North Amman Court of First Instance issued the ruling as the convicted man abused a public water system and violated articles in the Penal Code, as well as Article 30 of the Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) Law, which stipulates that violators are jailed for between one to five years and fined between JD2,000 to JD7,000.

In May last year, authorities ended a case of water theft in the Kamaliyeh neighbourhood in Sweileh, in which water stolen from the municipality was being diverted and illegally sold, according to the ministry.

The owner of a building, from which water services had previously been suspended, allegedly installed a two-inch pipeline on a main carrier which supplied the area with water, according to the ministry, which added that the convicted man was diverting the municipality’s water to several tanks hidden in the backyard of his building.

More than 50 cubic metres were being diverted per hour from the main carrier, the ministry said at the time, indicating that the violator was filling more than 10 tanks and selling the stolen water to people.

An official at the Ministry of Water and Irrigation described the court ruling as “another victory”, noting that more than a dozen court rulings have been issued in cases of water violation and theft.

The official noted that more than 800 cases of water theft have been referred to court since the ministry launched a national campaign in 2013 to end water theft and violations on water networks and resources.

Water theft in Jordan is blamed for 70 per cent of water loss, according to the ministry, which indicated that around 110 million cubic metres have been saved annually since authorities launched the campaign.