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Authorities deal with 20,000 water violations in two years — official

By Hana Namrouqa - Dec 19,2015 - Last updated at Dec 19,2015

AMMAN — Authorities dealt with approximately 20,000 violations on water mains and resources across the Kingdom over the past two years, when a national crackdown on water theft was launched, a government official said on Saturday.

Under the ongoing campaign, the Water Ministry and security authorities also sealed 701 illegal wells, the official said on condition of anonymity.

“A total of 19,910 violations have been dealt with since the campaign began in 2013, while water companies and security forces seized and confiscated 35 drilling rigs used to dig wells,” the government official noted.

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

In the Jordan Valley, authorities also discovered 1,158 violations on state-owned lands and 6,495 infringements on the King Abdullah Canal, which is supplied by the Yarmouk River to irrigate 40 per cent of Jordan Valley’s crops and provide some 40 per cent of the capital’s water after it is treated at the Zai Water Treatment Plant.

In November alone, the ministry and security forces sealed 10 illegal wells and handled 780 violations on water networks and resources, 71 on state-owned lands and 172 on the King Abdullah Canal, according to the ministry’s figures, released recently.

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 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 amendments.

 

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

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