By Hana Namrouqa – Apr 05,2018

AMMAN — Authorities on Wednesday morning had to bulldoze their way through a private farm in Irbid Governorate’s Ramtha district to seal an illegal well, according to a government official.

Acting upon reports of a water violation taking place inside the private property, a joint team from the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and security forces raided the farm, where they discovered an illegal well, a ministry official said.

“The entrance of the farm was blocked by different kinds of objects and barriers; therefore, bulldozers were used to remove the obstacles and clear the way to the farm,” the official told The Jordan Times.

An Arab national was arrested, and the authorities are now tracking down the owner of the farm, who has been identified, the official added.

“The technical teams sealed the illegal well with fortified concrete. It is also calculating the amount of water pumped from the well so the case can be referred to courts,” the official said.

He underlined that thousands of cubic metres of water were being pumped daily for the irrigation of vast plantations as well as for selling water to people by filling up tankers.

The Ministry of Water and Irrigation’s most recent figures indicate that 16 illegal wells were sealed in March in different parts of the country, as part of its ongoing campaign to end water violations on resources and networks.

During the past month, the ministry also removed 814 violations on water networks and resources, in addition to 18 violations on state-owned lands as well as 144 violations on the 110-King Abdullah Canal in the Jordan Valley.

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 campaign, launched in 2013.

Up-to-date figures show that, since the start of the campaign, a total of 38,213 violations on water networks and resources have been stopped. In addition, a total of 1,063 illegal wells have been sealed, and 62 drilling rigs confiscated.

“At courts today, there are 286 water-related cases against violators, while the ministry collected JD3.45 million in cost of water pumped from illegal wells,” the official highlighted.