‘Electric rig had dug up 30-metre-deep hole to extract underground water in Pella District in Northern Ghor’

By Hana Namrouqa – Aug 21,2017

The silent drilling rig was allegedly used to dig an illegal well to extract underground water, according to an official (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Water and Irrigation)

AMMAN — Authorities on Monday confiscated for the first time a silent electric drilling rig allegedly used to dig an illegal well in Pella District (Tabaqet Fahel) in the Northern Jordan Valley, according to an official.

The silent drilling rig had already dug up a 30-metre-deep hole in the ground to extract underground water when a team of water supply technicians and security forces raided the site, located some 90km north of Amman, the official said.

“The illegal action took place at a private farm. The authorities learned about the violation from a concerned citizen, who reported a suspicious act,” the official from the Ministry of Water and Irrigation told The Jordan Times over the phone.

All of the workers involved in the illegal action fled the scene when authorities approached the area, according to the official, who underlined that the case has been referred for legal action.

“Relevant authorities are now tracking down the owners of the farm, the unlicensed drilling rig, the vehicle that was carrying the equipment and those involved in the drilling process,” the ministry’s official stated.

He underscored that, since the ministry launched its crackdown on water theft and violations in 2013, it is the first time that its teams seize a silent electric drilling rig in the Kingdom.

“The drilling rig is in our possession now and the teams have sealed the well,” he said.

Water theft and violations on the water network and resources are being targeted by an ongoing campaign, launched by the ministry four years ago.

The ministry banned the drilling of wells in 1998 to limit random pumping of water, in order to preserve aquifers from depletion and salinity.

The campaign seeks to end water theft in Jordan, which is blamed for 70 per cent of water loss, according to the ministry, which indicated that more than 800 cases of water theft have been referred to court since the ministry launched the campaign.