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Theft in broad daylight

Feb 03,2014 - Last updated at Feb 03,2014

The Ministry of Water and Irrigation recently said that no less than 70 per cent of the water loss in the country is due to theft and illegal use.

This is a staggering amount of precious water stolen or unlawfully diverted from pipelines that are supposed to feed the country’s population.

The ministry launched a crackdown on water theft in August; since then, to its credit, it has dismantled some 700 illegal water pipes supplying water to users who are not paying a fils for it.

According to the ministry, 75 per cent of such illegal use occurs in Amman. This without mentioning the thousands of main water conveyors or water meters that have been manipulated to provide water free of charge and steal water at the expense of people who pay a high price for the lawful use of this commodity.

Then, there is also the problem of illegal drilling for water; the authorities deal with this by plugging unlicensed water wells whenever found.

Some call the unethical behaviour on the part of certain citizens robbery in broad daylight.

It is definitely an economic crime, a very serious felony that has to be punished with imprisonment.

The question that comes to mind, however, is why it took the authorities so much time to take action against the threat to the water resources of the country.

Why did they start investigating the reasons for the systematic theft of so much water only last August?

To combat this growing culture of utter disregard for law and order, and not in regard to water alone, there is need for legalised commensurate punishment, without exception.

One wonders whether such illegal activity is going on in other fields, like electricity, for example, where tariffs also are going up all the time to make up for losses.

As long as the law is not strictly applied, unlawful behaviour will continue, to the detriment of the country and its law-abiding citizens.

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