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‘Over 24,500 illegal fixtures removed from water mains since 2013’

By Hana Namrouqa - Aug 17,2016 - Last updated at Aug 17,2016

AMMAN — Authorities have dismantled more than 24,500 illegal fixtures on water mains and resources since a national campaign to end water theft was launched in 2013, an official said on Tuesday.

“More than 24,550 violations have been dealt with since the campaign began three years ago,” Ministry of Water and Irrigation Spokesperson Omar Salameh told The Jordan Times.

The ministry has also sealed 780 illegal wells and seized and confiscated 41 drilling rigs used to dig illegal wells.

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

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

Salameh said the strict monitoring of water resources and heavier legal penalties against violators has led to a decline in the number of violations on the Kingdom’s networks. 

The official added that 830 cases of water theft have been referred to court, and courts have issued 15 rulings so far.  

Water theft in Jordan is blamed for 70 per cent of water loss, according to the ministry, which indicated that around 110 million cubic metres of water have been saved since authorities launched the campaign.

The amended Water Authority of Jordan Law stipulates stiffer penalties against those who steal from water resources.

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 those who dig or are involved in the digging of wells without obtaining a licence face a prison sentence of up to five years and fines of 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 under the amendments.

 

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

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