x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

When drinking water came in tankers

Time frame: A photograph from the 1960s, when water tankers would supply Abu Dhabi's needs, and patient donkeys would carry away the full cans.


Driving down Khaleej al Arabi Street. It's hot. You're thirsty. The fuel gauge says the car's near empty. You begin looking for an Adnoc to satisfy your thirst and your car's.

Minus the car, a similar scenario could have played itself out in Abu Dhabi in the 1960s. Abu Dhabians collected their water from a central location. In the old days, those of our father's father's memories, there were wells. After the wells, came water tankers.

The lorry would pull up, and housewives and servants would gather to collect their daily need of water. Conversely, for outlying areas, water was distributed house to house in the same way we find water producers delivering 20-litre jugs today.

Families strapped wooden crates on their family donkey and loaded empty cans into the crates. The cans themselves were more than likely old BP petrol cans - cleaned out extremely well, of course - and then refilled with water.

Given the BP-water connection of old, perhaps it's no wonder the Adnoc Oasis developed as it did!

* The National


Time Frame is a series that opens a window into the nation's past. Each week it features an image from the archives of both prominent institutions and private collections. Readers are invited to make contributions to yourpics@thenational.ae