By Hana Namrouqa – Mar 04,2018

AMMAN — Authorities have sealed an illegal well found hidden inside a hanger in a private farm in Irbid Governorate, a government official said on Saturday.

A team from the Ministry of Water and Irrigation/the Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) and security forces on Friday morning raided the location in Huwarra in Irbid, following information on some “suspected water violation”.

“At early morning of Friday, the team raided the farm and discovered a 300-metre deep well, over which a huge hanger was constructed to provide cover for the illegal drilling of the well and extraction of underground water,” a ministry official told The Jordan Times on Saturday.

The illegal well was equipped with state-of-the-art installations for the extraction of large amounts of water, the government official said, noting that the equipment was seized and confiscated, while the well was sealed.

“Shortly before the ministry’s team and the security forces arrived to the location, those involved in the violation fled the scene. Authorities are now tracking them all and searching for the owner of the farm,” the source underscored.

The source noted that sealing the illegal well is part of the ministry’s ongoing campaign against water violations on surface and ground water resources, as well as networks and water infrastructure.

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

Water theft and violations on the water network and resources are being targeted by the ministry’s ongoing campaign, launched in 2013.

Recent ministry figures show that 32,000 violations on water networks and resources have been stopped since the campaign started. In addition, a total of 900 illegal wells have been sealed, 53 drilling rigs confiscated and 800 cases referred to courts.

In the process, a total of 25 million cubic metres of water have been retrieved per year, according to the ministry, which encouraged the public to contact the ministry’s unified water emergency number on 117116 to report any suspected violations against the water network and resources.