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‘Violators caught stealing 2,000 cubic metres of water per day’

By Hana Namrouqa - Jul 19,2014 - Last updated at Jul 19,2014

AMMAN — Authorities during the past week ended 10 violations on water resources, under which over 2,000 cubic metres per day were being stolen, an official at the Water Ministry said Saturday.

The violations entailed illegal fixtures on water mains that were extracting 120 cubic metres of water per hour in Deir Alla in the Jordan Valley and digging illegal wells in Ramtha in the northern region, the official said.

“Acting on reports of disruptions to the water supply in Deir Alla, authorities inspected the area and discovered several illegal pipes that were pumping water to households and farms,” the source told The Jordan Times.

The illegal pipes were removed and violators was referred for legal action, he said, adding that around 3,000 cubic metres of water per day was being stolen from Deir Alla residents’ share of water.

Also last week, security authorities arrested suspects involved in assaulting and firing live shots at officials from the Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) after they discovered a case of drilling an illegal well.

“The assailants were arrested and the stolen drilling rig was recovered and handed over to WAJ,” the source noted.

In Irbid’s Ramtha District, 90km north of Amman, authorities discovered two cases of drilling illegal wells. A group of Syrian workers were involved in one of the cases, as authorities found them drilling a deep well after midnight. 

The drilling rig was confiscated and the workers were arrested in both cases.

The official said violators involved in the two cases will be jailed for up to five years and fined up to JD7,000.

Under new amendments introduced to the WAJ Law, 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, or are involved in the digging of wells without obtaining a licence will be jailed for up to five years and fined up to JD7,000. 

In addition, violators of WAJ water and wastewater projects will be jailed for up to three years and fined up to JD5,000.

All penalties stipulated under the new law will be doubled in the case of repeat offenders, according to the ministry, which said that Article 31 of the legislation classifies water conveyance schemes and pipes as “strategic, vital projects”.

The Water Ministry launched a campaign in August 2013 to end violations on water networks and seal all illegal wells.

Since the onset of the campaign, authorities have confiscated over 140 drilling rigs, sealed more than 240 illegal wells and dismantled almost 10,000 pipes that were diverting tens of thousands of cubic metres illegally every day.

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