Lukewarm response to groundwater issue frustrates residents of historic Jeddah area

NWC, municipality play blame game


Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — Surfacing groundwater is a major problem facing the historical district of Abruq Al-Raghama east of the Haramain Expressway in Jeddah.

The seeping water forms swamps in the district’s roads, providing an ideal breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes that pose public health hazard.

Residents say Jeddah Municipality and National Water Company exchange blame without shouldering their responsibility to solve the issue.

Speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette, Khaled Al-Otaibi has said the authorities seem to have little regard for the district’s historical importance. They should have taken quick measures to solve the groundwater problem, which has damaged the district’s roads and caused many health issues, he said.

“The presence of contaminated pools and swamps in the district is alarming. It spreads not only a bad smell but also causes contagious diseases to spread,” he pointed out.

Al-Otaibi urged the municipality to take immediate measures to protect the district’s environment. “Surfacing water damages the first layers of asphalt on roads. It also causes potholes thus causing damage to vehicles.”

Sulaiman Al-Otaibi spoke about the authorities’ negligence toward Abruq Al-Raghama. “Our district is a victim of official negligence,” he told Okaz/Saudi Gazette.

“We need the intervention of higher authorities to solve the issue of surfacing groundwater in the district as it causes a lot of problems for the residents,” he added.

“We don’t want to join the argument between the municipality and NWC. What we want is a solution to the problem caused by pools formed by water accumulating in the streets.”

Al-Otaibi urged both the municipality and NWC not to run away from their responsibility.

Ahmed Malabari expressed his anguish over the authorities’ lukewarm response toward the complaints raised by residents of Abruq Al-Raghama. “We see more and more swamps appearing in the streets of Raghama threatening public health as they spread contagious diseases and a nasty smell. We need quick action by the authorities to solve this problem for once and all.”

He said people of Raghama are more concerned with its environment than anything else.

“We want the authorities to solve this issue as early as possible to protect people’s health,” said Malabari while speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette.