By Hana Namrouqa – Sep 05,2017

AMMAN — Authorities uncovered three cases of alleged water theft during Eid Al Adha holiday, under which over 2,000 cubic metres of water were being diverted daily in south Amman, an official said on Tuesday.

Authorities discovered the cases after an individual reported the alleged violations to the emergency centre, according to the official at the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, who requested to remain unnamed.

A team from the Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ), the Jordan Water Company, the Royal Badia Forces and the Gendarmerie raided the sites and removed alleged illegal dixtures that were used to divert water.

“Three illegal fixtures were diverting water from main carriers that supply residents of Um Al Amad in south Amman. The suspects were diverting the water to nearby farms to fill several pools, irrigate hundreds of dunums of crops and fill up tankers to sell the water,” the official told The Jordan Times.

All the alleged illegal fixtures have been removed, the official added, noting that authorities are investigating the cases and tracking down anyone involved.

Water theft in Jordan is the cause of 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 a national campaign in 2013 to end water theft and violations on water networks and resources.

The ministry indicated in previous statements that more than 800 cases of water theft have been referred to court since the ministry launched the campaign.

The official underlined that the ministry is pressing ahead with the ongoing campaign to end water theft and violations on the water network and resources.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the ministry reminded the public of the WAJ Law, which stipulates stiffer penalties against those who violate any element of the water system.

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, or are involved in the digging of wells without a licence, can face prison sentences of up to five years and fines of up to JD7,000.

In addition, violators who cause damage or loss to water and wastewater projects can be 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.