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Subscribers, well owners owe water authority JD40m — ministry

By Merza Noghai - Nov 12,2014 - Last updated at Nov 12,2014

AMMAN — Unpaid dues to the Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) amounted to some JD40 million by the end of October, a Water Ministry official said Wednesday.

“Unpaid household subscription bills amount to about JD32 million, while overdue fees owed by licensed private wells are estimated at JD8 million,” Water Ministry Spokesperson Omar Salameh told The Jordan Times over the phone.

The first 150,000 cubic metres (cm) pumped through legal private wells are free, while the price of 150,000-200,000cm stands at JD0.025/cm. 

Owners of private wells pay about JD0.06/cm for pumping more than 200,000cm.

Salameh said WAJ is facing financial hardships due to the increase of its electricity costs from JD80 million in 2010 to JD160 million in 2013, with another increase expected this year. 

He called on subscribers to pay their outstanding bills to enable the company to continue providing its services.

“The demand for water in the Kingdom has risen by 21 per cent during the last few years due to the Syrian refugee influx, with the increase reaching 40 per cent in the northern region,” Salameh noted.

The spokesperson said each cubic metre of water costs WAJ around JD1.8, with subscribers paying only about JD0.5, adding that the average price of water for households ranges between JD0.3 and JD0.35, while industrial and commercial establishments  pay JD0.5 and JD1 respectively per cubic metre.

There are about 3,000 wells in Jordan, 1,200 of which are illegal, which prompted the Water Ministry to initiate a campaign to stop water theft in the Kingdom, the official added.

Over 12,138 illegal pipes have been dismantled and 455 illegal wells have been sealed since the ministry launched the nationwide campaign in August last year to end violations on the water network, according to Salameh. Twenty-three wells out of the total were sealed during October alone.

More than 514 pipes illegally installed on water mains and carriers were also dismantled last month, while one drilling rig was seized and confiscated.

“WAJ has recently applied satellite technology in the northern region... to monitor water theft, and is working to cover the entire country soon,” Salameh said.

He noted that water theft is responsible for about 70 per cent of the total water loss, with each 1 per cent costing the country around JD1 million.

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 prison terms of up to five years and fines up to JD7,000, in accordance with the WAJ Law.

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