By Hana Namrouqa – May 31,2019
AMMAN — Authorities recently carried out a campaign in Amman’s western Wadi Al Seer neighbourhood, a scene of recurring water violations, and apprehended an alleged violator, while another remains at large, according to government officials.

Acting on reports of water violations in Wadi Al Seer, involving the drilling of a well and selling untreated water to people. A team from the Water Authority of Jordan, the Gendarmerie and the Public Security Department raided the site of the illegal well in Wadi Al Seer on Wednesday.

The team discovered a reservoir with the capacity to hold hundreds of cubic metres of water, equipped with three large submersible pumps to extract water from the illegal well and transfer it to fill up several tankers.

“A person [allegedly] involved in the violation was apprehended during the early morning raid, while others, including owner of the well, fled the scene. The team sealed the well, confiscated all the equipment and security authorities are now tracking down the [alleged] violators,” an official source at the Ministry of Water and Irrigation said.

The same person who is in charge of drilling the illegal well was apprehended several times before for the same infringement, the government official said, alleging that, after the suspect was detained, fined heftily and released after paying huge bails and vowing to abide by the law, he repeated the same violation.

“The suspect sold untreated water to people via scores of tankers. He used to make a daily profit of JD2,000 out of this illegal act, thus endangering the lives of thousands of people and depleting and exploiting national resources,” the official underlined.

The ministry has repeatedly urged the public to be vigilant and ask water tanker drivers to show them a document that identifies the source of the water, indicating that people receiving water from private wells must obtain a receipt showing the source and cost of the water.

The ministry said owners of water tankers must adhere to regulations that ensure water safety, including cleanliness of the tanker and pipes. Water tankers must be green in colour, with the words “drinking water” visibly printed.

Water tanker owners must also carry out regular maintenance and cleaning of the tanker, according to the ministry.

Wadi Al Seer is one of the areas where water violations are recurrent. The ministry carries out an ongoing campaign to prevent violators from filling up tankers from the stream and selling the water as potable to people. The Wadi Al Seer stream originates from several springs in the area. Its water is drinkable after it is treated at the Wadi Al Seer treatment plant, which provides residents of the area with their water needs.

The stream is also a vital source of irrigation for farmers who grow fruits, such as pomegranate and figs.

In 1997, the ministry banned the drilling of wells to limit random pumping of water and preserve aquifers from depletion and salinity.

International studies indicate that water levels at several aquifers have been dropping at a rate of 1 metre per year, according to the ministry, which noted that more than 50 million cubic metres of underground water is being extracted through indiscriminate pumping.

The ministry’s official underlined that the national campaign to end all forms if water theft and violation is still ongoing, urging the pubic to cooperate with the authorities by reporting violations on water resources and networks.