x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Tears of joy

This year, dam breakwaters have harvested the rains, storing an estimated 210 million gallons of water.

'Beautiful pearls, plucked from the crown of Ishtar by the daughter of dawn to embellish gardens," as the poet Khalil Gibran described rain drops, have fallen in parts of the UAE for over three weeks now. There is far more reason for celebration than concern.

The past few years have taught us that though the nation may be grappling with new infrastructure, drainage difficulties and traffic woes, the UAE is improving its response to its annual showers. Rains in Dubai in 2007 caused the city virtually to shut down but have now become far more manageable.

The eastern wadis of Fujairah and Umm al Qaiwain have experienced flooding as torrents have poured down their mountainsides, with nearly 17 litres of rainwater per square metre falling in Umm al Qaiwain and 12.6 litres in Fujairah. Ajman and Sharjah also reported hail, thick cloud and low temperatures.

But this year, dam breakwaters have harvested the rains, storing an estimated 210 million gallons of water. Much needed groundwater levels have risen and replenished stocks for agriculture, and winds have cooled the UAE after a scorching summer. The UAE's gardens are being embellished and reborn. Let it rain.