Water supply cut to Madinah households over unpaid bills

Many people in Madinah were forced to buy truck water after the ministry decided to shut the water meters over unpaid bills.

By Sami Al-Maghamsi

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

The local branch of the Ministry of Water in Madinah confirmed removing a number of water meters from several buildings depriving their occupants of supply because water bills were not paid.

Most of the people who became victims of the move said that they had already objected to the hefty water bills and the matter was under investigation. Tenants who live in buildings where water service is shut believe that they have fallen victim of a dispute between the building owner and the water company.

Okaz/Saudi Gazette witnessed a number of cases where the water meters were being removed and services discontinued in neighborhoods such as Al-Bahar, Al-Magharba, Quba, Al-Naser and Al-Kurdi.

Muhammad Al-Tasi, official spokesman for Water Ministry’s branch in Madinah, said the procedures carried out was to preserve water and prevent water wastage.

He said it was important to rationalize the use of water by using water conservation tools or fixing cracks in the underground water tanks to prevent leakage.

He said the branch had contacted real estate owners many times to update them on unpaid bills. They were contacted many times by SMS but with no response. The company had placed posters on the water meters informing subscribers to visit its office within five days. When they did not respond, the water meters were removed, Al-Tasi added.

He pointed out that removing the water meter was the result of refusing to pay the bills or not updating the cell phone number to avoid receiving bills by SMS.

A number of people complained that they were the victims when the water service was discontinued. They said they suffered a lot because of the supply cut and that they had to buy water trucks at high prices.

They pointed out that they had filed a complaint to the water department and an investigation was still ongoing.