Residents of five districts in southeast Jeddah have complained about disruption of water supply to their homes after the National Water Company (NWC) changed its supply schedule.
They urged NWC to pump more water to their districts or supply water trucks free of charge as the company was responsible for the supply disruption through its network.
The residents of Al-Musaed, Quwaiza, Al-Nakheel, Al-Raghama and Al-Obaid districts in southeast Jeddah were mainly affected by the supply disruption.
The NWC said the schedule was changed in view of maintenance work at desalination plants in Shuaiba but a legal expert said citizens have the right to approach the Court of Grievances to demand compensations for the damage caused by the supply cut.
Mohammed Hassan Al-Sayyed, a resident of Nakheel district, highlighted the suffering of the residents as a result of a halt in water supply to the district.
“The water company is not following the supply schedule; sometimes it will pump water every week and other times every two weeks. Now water is pumped once every four weeks,” he said.
“When we approached the company, officials said it was beyond their control as the quantity of water they receive from Shuaiba plants was less than what they received before,” Al-Sayyed said.
“Our question is why they cut water supply only to the five districts in southeast Jeddah? People in other districts are not facing any problem,” he said.
Abid Hammad Al-Sulami from Raghama district said: “We are not receiving water from the NWC network for several weeks and we don’t know the reason.”
The company was sending conflicting SMS messages to justify the disruption in supply. “Sometimes they say it was because of a network problem and at other times they attribute the problem to a shortage of supply from Shuaiba,” Al-Sulami told Al-Madina Arabic daily.
He urged the company to be transparent in its dealings with customers as they have the legitimate right to know the reason for the supply cut and be informed of any schedule change.
“If people know about a possible supply cut in advance, they can adopt alternative measures to ensure water supply to their homes,” he explained.
Hussein Al-Harbi of Al-Musaed district said he was facing problems to supply water to his residential building with nine apartments as the NWC allows the use of water trucks once every three days.
“My building needs two water trucks every 48 hours but the company insists one truck every 72 hours. I don’t know how I can ensure water supply to meet the minimum requirements of my tenants,” he added.
Faraj Al-Saedi from Al-Obaid district urged the NWC to allow water trucks free of charge as a compensation for causing the supply disruption. “The company punishes citizens every time they violate regulations. At the same time citizens are not receiving the services they deserve from the company,” Al-Saedi said.
“The company should at least allow enough number of water trucks charging a nominal fee,” said Al-Saedi.
Rajab Al-Shahri from Al-Raya district wondered why the company was keeping mum on the leakage in pipes that leads to wasting huge quantities of water due to a network problem.
“The NWC has not done anything to stop the leakage and instead they punish citizens by pumping less water. This is unacceptable,” Al-Shahri told Al-Madina.
Lawyer Saud Bin Abdul Kareem Al-Qadi said citizens have the right to demand compensation from the NWC for the disruption in supply. “This disruption has forced many citizens to get water from other sources despite a agreement they have with the authorized supplier, which is the NWC. This is unacceptable.”
He said if the water company fails to solve the problem within 60 days, citizens could file a lawsuit for damages.
Mohammed Bin Ahmed Al-Zahrani, director of NWC’s business unit in Jeddah, said the company was strictly following the supply schedule except at times when there is a shortage in supply from the Shuaiba plants or in case of any emergency.
He acknowledged that water supply to the five districts was disrupted due to maintenance work at Shuaiba plants. “The disruption was only for a short period and normal supply resumed soon after completing maintenance,” he added.