Development is going on at such a rapid pace in Saudi Arabia that the government has to play catch-up with infrastructure. Two articles in today’s Arab News point to how the government in Jeddah has lagged behind the growth curve.
The first reports on efforts to connect more than 100K homes in the northern part of the city with the municipal sewage grid. Currently, these houses use septic tanks. Septic tanks can be adequate, but cost-cutting builders and the geology of the region make them less than optimal. In fact, they frequently present a major health issue through overflows. But, because there are large gaps in planning and regulation, houses get built before the infrastructure is in place.
Network of sewers to be connected to 132,000 city homes
Jeddah: Badr Al-Qahtani & Naif Al-Turki
The National Water Company (NWC) has started installing sewer lines at homes in Jeddah’s north-central area and said it would finish connecting 132,000 homes to the municipal sewer system by the end of 2015 as scheduled, when the phased operation of the system is set to start.
The company says it will finish installing sewer lines in 25,000 houses this year.
While residents in the city’s north-central area have welcomed the news they hope the projects will be completed on time, so that the current practice of calling the septic tanker to clean up the tanks could be done away with.
Similarly, the area’s water distribution system has not kept up with development. Many, if not most houses in the Jeddah region have to store water in individual, roof-top water tanks. The homes may have connections to the municipal water system, but private water company trucks drive around, filling the tanks. During periods of water shortage, houses can go without access to drinking water for weeks or months. Sanitary issues with the tanks present another problem.
Now, the municipality is in process of developing storage tanks for entire regions of the city. Direct pipelines from the numerous desalination plants will connect with massive concrete tanks. Exactly how the water is to be distributed from these central tanks, however, is not discussed. It’s likely that distribution will continue to be done by tanker trucks. This is inefficient, but more easily done than tearing up the city to lay water pipes. It’s a solution, but not a really great one, just one that can be done now.
Strategic water storage plan for Jeddah
Jeddah: Arab News
The National Water Company (NWC) has drawn up a strategic water storage project for Jeddah that will store 1.5 million cubic meters. The project will cost about SR 500 million, business daily Al-Eqtisadiah reported yesterday, quoting the director general of the NWC in Jeddah.
According to Abdullah Al-Assaf, the project would be completed within 24 months once the contractor received the land alloted for the purpose. “This is the first phase of an integrated project for storage of about 6 million cubic meters of water in Jeddah at a cost of more than SR 2.2 billion. The entire project will be completed within 3 to 5 years,” he said.