AL AIN // Around 750 staff from Bawadi Mall who live in the shopping centre's accommodation block have been hit by water shortages, sometimes leaving them without supplies for up to a day. Angry residents have complained to Al Ain Municipality and Al Ain Distribution Company (AADC), which supplies water to much of the emirate, but problems persist.
Bawadi Mall officials have even used water trucks to top up drinking water supplies. AADC provides water to the mall, which in turn is responsible for redirecting supplies to the other buildings it operates, including the residential block. "We have gone to the mall to demand a solution to the problem, but have been told that there is nothing they can do for us," said Tewfik Saadi, 31, from Algeria, who works as a Nokia store manager in the mall.
"We called the municipality and the water company and they told us the problem is not from them. "We are all very frustrated and demand that something be done. Some days we will have water for an hour or two while other days, like last Friday, we don't have water at all. "Each time I walk past the mall's fountains I get angry when I see them running." Mustafa Abdulaziz, 34, an Egyptian employed at Cold Stone Creamery, is also frustrated at the lack of running water.
"I also called the municipality and the water company and was told the same thing, that there was nothing they could do," he said. "We are suffering. Imagine not having water to wash before praying, not having water to cook or clean with or not even having water to flush the toilet. "I believe that the problem is from Bawadi Mall's management. I think they are switching the water off on us so that they can conserve water for the mall."
Bashar al Tamimi, Bawadi Mall's general manager, denied any suggestion that water was being cut to the residential block to keep the mall supplied. He said the mall was receiving insufficient supplies from AADC because of a broken water main. "Our water pumping system is automated. If we received enough water pressure, the staff accommodation would receive the water it needs." A spokesman for AADC, Aliazia al Kaabi, said: "I checked with the concerned engineers and have been told that there is no pipeline break that would affect water supplies to the Bawadi Mall area."
However an AADC engineer who asked to remain anonymous said supply problems were being caused by a broken water main and that other districts of Al Ain were affected. In desperation, Bawadi residents have run hoses from emergency fire-fighting water tanks. "We were using the water from the fire hoses for a while, but that water now has run out," said Mr. Abdulaziz. "If a fire were to break out that would be a catastrophe. There are almost 800 people living here."