x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Water problems in Umm al Qaiwain

Hundreds of homes in the emirate have had only intermittent water supplies this week.

UMM AL QAIWAIN // Hundreds of homes in the emirate have had only intermittent water supplies this week. Authorities say the cuts in supply are due to scheduled maintenance work at several water plants, but residents complain the work could not have come at a worse time and has disrupted their observance of Ramadan. Some have resorted to filling their water tanks at their own expense, buying supplies from the tankers that usually supply industrial areas or older homes that are not connected to the distribution network.

"I have had to buy a water tank to help me preserve water for my family. It is Ramadan and one can not live without water," said one resident, Ahmed Abdullah, an Emirati businessman in his 50s. He said his family had purchased eight tanks of water over the past week at a total cost of almost Dh500 (US$135). An imam in a mosque near Salama market who gave his name as Yasin also said he had to purchase water for his followers to perform their wudhu, or ablutions, on the second day of Ramadan during the midday prayers.

The problem had been remedied before the evening prayer, but he said he had been worried that he would have to hold iftar without water. He had scrambled to get in touch with local water officials and "luckily they helped us fix the problem in time". Sultan Salem, the head of the inspection division at the emirate's electricity and water authority, said the cuts had been due to annual maintenance at the water plants. He said residents had been informed about the repair work in advance.

Maintenance on a plant takes normally took between one and 10 days, he said, which led to water being cut off in some areas for hours at a time. The official added that some residents had contributed to the disruption by trying to carry out maintenance work on the pipes themselves, causing damage to the network. All the work should be completed by next week, he said. He added that any residents who do not have water for more than a few hours should call the authority's help line at 06-7653777 or 06-7651999.