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‘27,135 illegal fixtures on water resources removed since 2013’

Ministry says 15 illegal wells sealed, four drilling rigs confiscated in November

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

AMMAN — Authorities have removed 27,135 illegal fixtures on water mains and resources since the launch of a national campaign to end violations on the water network in 2013, officials said on Saturday.

Under the campaign, authorities also sealed more than 831 wells and seized and confiscated 49 drilling rigs, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation.

In the Jordan Valley, authorities also ended 1,486 violations on state-owned land and 10,935 infringements on the King Abdullah Canal, which is supplied by the Yarmouk River to irrigate 40 per cent of the Jordan Valley’s crops and also provides some 40 per cent of the capital’s supply after it is treated at the Zai Water Treatment Plant.

During November, the ministry and security forces ended 861 violations on water mains and resources, sealed 15 wells and seized and confiscated four drilling rigs used in digging illegal wells, according to an official at the ministry.

Owners of the rigs and those involved in the drilling of illegal wells have all been referred to court for legal action, the official said, stressing that articles 3 and 4 of the Economic Crimes Law regard water theft as an economic crime.

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

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 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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