UMM AL QAIWAIN // Much of Umm al Qaiwain was without water for 11 hours yesterday as the municipality made repairs to worn out, leaking pipes responsible for stagnant pools across the emirate. The supply was cut off between 8am and 7pm. The Department of Water at UAQ Municipality had publicised the stoppage on radio stations since Friday, warning residents that most areas would be without running water.
"We had informed all people on time to reserve enough water for their use for the whole day," said an official. However, residents said they were used to going without water. The damaged pipes mean that the emirate's main roadway, King Faisal Road, is blighted by large, scum-covered pools. The pools create the perfect setting for water-borne diseases and a breeding ground for mosquitos, residents said.
Mohammed Ahmed, 40, an Emirati living in the King Faisal Road area, said it was not the first time his supply had been cut off. "I have had days when I found my family without water because our main supply pipe has ruptured," he said. "This could go for days with us having to buy water from distributing vehicles as the broken pipe continued to pour all our water in the street, until its repaired," he said.
A water pipe supplying an area near Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank ruptured about three times a year, Mr Ahmed said. The authorities were out repairing it almost every four months, he added. Abu Majid 35, an Emirati resident of Old Shababiya, opposite the roadway, said he was concerned about mosquitos breeding in the pools, and the health implications for children who played in them. "For some of our children, when they see water coming from pipes they go and play in the ponds, then the next day they have skin rashes and complain of itching in the legs," he said.
"We are supposed to monitor our children, but who can do this for 24 hours? These water ponds should not exist." He said that the mosquito problem got worse in winter and he always used a net to shield his three-year-old daughter. Another Emirati resident, Ali Hussein, 35, said he believed that the main water pipe was no longer able to pump large amounts of water to the area as the demand had grown with the rise in population.
"If you ask them the age of the water pipes, even the authorities would not know, because they found the same water pipes in service when they joined. They have always made repairs and maintenance, but not replacements," said Mr Hussein. For the time being, the municipality is only repairing the ageing pipes. The official said repairs would be made to five broken pipes leaking onto King Faisal Road, but the pipes would be fully replaced with "strong and long lasting" new ones at a later date.