x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Overflowing Dubai lake sparks flood fears

Residents fear their homes will be flooded for second time in three years after their gardens and a hotel are submerged by overflow.

DUBAI // Residents fear their homes are at risk of flooding after a community lake overflowed and washed out their gardens.
The concerns are heightened given flooding from the lake three years ago caused widespread damage to ground-floor flats.
Gardens of terrace apartments bordering the lake in the Green Community - spread over 67 hectares in Dubai Investments Park - were submerged last Sunday.
Spillover at an adjoining hotel, Courtyard by Marriott, forced the closure of the outdoor seating area of an Italian restaurant. The pool and a lobby cafe were able to reopen yesterday.
The community's developer, Properties Investment - a joint venture between Union Properties and Dubai Investments - declined to comment.
Residents said that for the past six months, a dozen tankers have entered the community daily to pump excess water from the lake.
Eight boreholes were also installed to pump groundwater.
Last week's flooding occurred despite these temporary measures put in place by the developer.
The hotel bore the brunt of the overflow. "We couldn't use the pool and the lobby restaurant was always being mopped up," said Michelle Edwards, a hotel guest. "Workers were constantly cleaning up but it is annoying when you're on holiday."
Residents fear a recurrence of the flooding of three years ago, when ground-floor apartments were flooded.
Water also seeped into children's play areas and the barbecue pits of villas located up to 500 metres away from the lake. "It was a real problem because it's foul water and you can't have children playing in that water in the garden," said R?S, a villa owner.
"The current situation with the tankers is just firefighting and is completely unsustainable.
"What was a beautiful community has been ruined to some extent by this problem and could again affect the lives of residents. It needs to be addressed quickly."
Nigel, a Green Community resident affected by similar flooding in December last year, said: "The water enters and ebbs from the garden and leaves scum behind. It's a health hazard.
"We can't walk outside and don't let the children play there. Also, the tankers create a terrible racket because the motors run day and night."
There are plans for a major pipeline to suck water from the lake whenever the water table rises, said Vik Vithlani, a member of the Home Owner Representative Group.
"The tankers are a temporary measure but a long-term solution is close to being implemented," he added. "Since the water table in the Green Community is high, the flooding worsened some months ago.
"Residents have been annoyed by the constant noise of the tankers and the damage caused to the road. But it's a vicious circle since water must be pumped out daily or the lake will overflow."
rtalwar@thenational.ae