Two foreigners detained for illegal well drilling in Shouneh

(MENAFN- Jordan Times) AMMAN — Authorities over the weekend detained two foreign nationals who were allegedly drilling an illegal well in southern Shouneh's Kafrain area, a government official said on Saturday.

An area resident reported "a suspicious movement inside a private farm that is likely to be drilling of a well" to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, according to the ministry's official.

Following investigation of the claim, a team of technicians and security personnel raided the location on Saturday, the official noted.

"The illegal well has been sealed, the drilling rig and all of the equipment were seized and confiscated, and two foreign nationals who were involved in the illegal practice were detained by security authorities," the official told The Jordan Times.

Sealing illegal wells is part of the ministry's ongoing campaign against violations on surface and ground water resources, as well as networks and water infrastructure, according to the official, who noted that preventing the digging of new wells is "at the core" of the ministry's daily inspections across the country.

"Authorities are now investigating those detained and work is under way to identify the owner of the farm where the violation was discovered," the official highlighted.

The official source hailed citizens' cooperation with the ministry in unveiling violations on the water resources and networks.

"A substantial number of major water violation cases were recorded because the public is cooperating with us. Since the crackdown on water violations started in 2013, the ministry is seeing a great deal of concern by the public over the issue of water violations," the official noted, underlining that people's awareness on the need to report water violations is increasing.

"Anyone who suspects or sees a violation against water resources and infrastructure is highly encouraged to contact the ministry's unified water emergency number on 117116," the official said.

Recent ministry figures show that 32,000 violations on water networks and resources have been stopped since the campaign started. In addition, a total of 900 illegal wells have been sealed, 53 drilling rigs confiscated and 800 cases referred to courts.

The ministry banned the drilling of wells in 1998 to limit random pumping of water, in order to preserve aquifers from depletion and salinity.

Water theft and violations on the water network and resources are being targeted by the ministry's ongoing campaign, which managed to retrieve a total of 25 million cubic metres of water per year, according to the ministry.


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