x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Dh520m water plan to solve UAQ's supply problems

Fewa officials hope that the system revamp will "radically solve" Umm Al Quwain's problems.

Workers replace water pipes in the searing summer heat.
Workers replace water pipes in the searing summer heat.

UMM AL QUWAIN // A Dh520 million, five-year plan to improve Umm Al Quwain's ageing water system is expected finally to solve the emirate's supply problems.

A study by the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (Fewa), which took control of water supply in UAQ in February last year, found that 85 per cent of the 40-year-old network needs work.

The emirate requires 5.5 million gallons of water a day, and will need 13 million by 2030. Residents face regular cuts to supply, with water delivered by tanker at an additional cost.

But Fewa officials hope that, once in operation, plans to revamp the system will "radically solve" UAQ's problems.

Mohammed Saleh, the Fewa director, said: "The water supply network has been in place for 38 years and needs a complete revamp."

Fewa's study also found that there is no sufficient source of water to meet the emirate's demands.

Fewa plans to fix the issue by extending the major Fujairah-Al Ain water transmission line - which is owned by the Abu Dhabi water and electricity authority - to Umm Al Quwain. Work should be completed in around 18 months.

A Dh163 million project to create a four-million gallon capacity reservoir at the existing Umm Al Quwain distribution centre, and a one-million gallon reservoir in Falaj Mualla, has also been proposed.

In the meantime, ongoing maintenance and renovation works on existing pipelines is expected to ease customers' problems. Fewa is also keeping up its contracts with water tanker firms to supply areas with no pumping systems.

A tender is also being prepared for the establishment of a transmission line to transfer water from the pumping station in Ajman to the Umm Al Quwain distribution centre. The Dh30 million project will take 18 months to be completed.

"After the completion of Fewa's projects and the main transmission line project, in addition to the water reservoirs, Umm Al Quwain's water problem will be radically solved," said Mr Saleh.

UAQ residents, most of whom experienced shortages for weeks at a time earlier this year after pipes broke and caused flooding, said were hopeful their problems would be solved.

"You can not tell if you will have water for the whole month and every time there is no water our expenditures increase as trucks also hike their fees," said Emirati Samii Ahmed. "But now with big trenches for water pipes being dug in all neighbourhoods, our main hope is that something is being done."

ykakande@thenational.ae