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748 illegal fixtures removed from water mains in March

By Hana Namrouqa - Apr 18,2015 - Last updated at Apr 18,2015

AMMAN — The authorities removed more than 748 illegal fixtures on water mains and carriers across the Kingdom in March, over half of which were discovered in the capital, a government official said on Saturday.

Under an ongoing campaign to end water theft and violations on water networks and resources, the Water Ministry and security authorities registered 748 violations on mains and networks, 417, or 55.7 per cent, of which were in Amman, 134 in Irbid and 72 in Balqa, a ministry official told The Jordan Times on condition of anonymity.

In addition, 16 illegal wells were sealed last month, raising the number of sealed wells to 616 since the campaign began in July 2013, according to the official.

He added that water companies and security forces seized and confiscated two new drilling rigs used to dig wells, which brings to 159 the number of rigs seized and confiscated during the same period.

Since the crackdown on water theft started, joint teams dismantled more than 14,805 illegal fixtures on pipes and carriers, while 750 water abuse cases were referred to court in an attempt to protect the country’s water resources from depletion and theft.

Water theft in Jordan is blamed for 70 per cent of water loss, according to the ministry, which seeks to save an estimated 35-50 million cubic metres of water stolen or wasted via illegal fixtures and the drilling of illegal wells.

The ministry banned the drilling of wells in 1997 to limit random pumping of water and preserve aquifers from depletion and salinity. There are 1,318 wells across the Kingdom, of which more than 400 are unlicensed or illegal, according to official figures.

In a related development, the Jordan Valley Authority handled 18 violations on state-owned land, as well as 286 infringements on the King Abdullah Canal, which is supplied by the Yarmouk River, irrigates 40 per cent of Jordan Valley’s crops, and provides some 40 per cent of the capital’s water after it is treated at the Zai Water Treatment Plant.

The amended Water Authority of Jordan Law stipulates stiffer penalties against those who abuse 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; and dig or are involved in the digging of wells without obtaining a licence, face a prison sentence of up to five years and fines up to JD7,000.

In addition, violators of water and wastewater projects are jailed for up to three years and fined up to JD5,000, according to the new amendments.

All penalties stipulated under the new law are doubled in the case of repeat offences.

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