By Hana Namrouqa – Jun 04,2019

AMMAN — Authorities were tracking down suspects who reportedly fired live bullets at on-duty employees of the Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) on Sunday night in Karak Governorate, a government official said on Monday.

The WAJ employees were shot at as they were reporting to complaints from residents of Eraq in Karak’s Southern Mazar district of abrupt suspension in water supply hours only after they started receiving municipal water under the weekly water distribution programme, according to an official source at the Ministry of Water and Irrigation.

“When our employees arrived at the Eraq reservoir to solve the problem, they found that the valves were tampered with and the water pumping was deliberately diverted to a different area rather than Eraq, whose residents were supposed to be receiving their share of water under the distribution programme,” the official source told The Jordan Times.

As the WAJ employees were restoring the distribution of water, live bullets were fired in their direction, missing them but hitting their vehicle, the official source said, noting that a group of unknown people threatened the employees to leave the site.

“The employees escaped and reported the assault to security authorities, which inspected the site and are now tracking assailants,” the ministry’s official highlighted.

Under the water distribution programme, households receive water once a week on a rotating basis. Scarce water resources compelled the Kingdom to initiate the programme in the early 1980s to ensure a sustainable water supply to subscribers. Sunday’s incident is the latest in a series of assaults against WAJ employees in Karak while performing their official duties, the source said, indicating that unknown individuals have been tampering with valves at main water resources and disrupting the water supply in different parts of the southern governorate.

“On Saturday, WAJ employees in charge of ensuring a smooth water distribution programme in Eraq area were also assaulted. They sustained bruises and injuries and the municipality’s vehicle was damaged. In addition, another assault against our employees occurred last Wednesday, when a group of people threw rocks at on-duty WAJ employees in Ay in Kathraba, wounding them,” the official noted.

The government official described the assault incidents against WAJ employees as “individual acts that are alien to Jordan’s traditions and values”, underscoring that authorities will hold those responsible accountable.