ABHA – Radical measures are in the cards to resolve the water problem plaguing many parts of the Kingdom, Engineer Abdullah Al-Hussayen, Minister of Water and Electricity, has said.
The projects include Al-Shu’aibah-3 plant and Beesh Valley dam which will produce more than 70 million cubic meters per year, Al-Hussayen said after an inspection tour of the water allocation plant here on Sunday.
Once Al-Shu’aibah plant is operational, water shortage will be a thing of the past, he said adding that the problem in Asir was largely due to the breakdown of the desalination plant there, Arabic daily Okaz reported.
His ministry is looking at the option of building more dams to ameliorate the situation, Al-Hussayen said.
The second phase of Al-Shaqiq Project will be operational in about 30 months. “The problem will completely end then,” the minister said.
He said the desalination plant in Otud area will hopefully be reopened after the rainy season in Asir. “The region enjoys a lion’s share of the proposed dams,” he said.
“The water storage capacity will reach 1,800 million cubic meters, which is twice the capacity of 50 years ago”, he said. The long-term projects include building dams on large valleys, embedding agriculture and prohibiting unlicensed digging of wells, he said.
The minister also indicated that separate sections for women will be set up at water distribution centers in Abha, Khamis Mushayt and other cities.
During the inspection tour, the minister listened to citizens’ complaints and their proposals to end manipulations of water truck drivers.
At Al-Ared station in Khamis Mushayt, a citizen asked the minister to inspect the facilities and services at the plant, including mosque, restaurant and restrooms. The Minister was surprised to discover that the plant was built on a small area and that the sewage pipes were blocked, with sewage water overflowing on the streets.
As an employee was answering a question posed by the minister on water allocation mechanisms, a citizen interrupted him saying: “Your Excellency, I have been waiting for my water ration for five days and I sent my family to stay with my in-laws. Please solve the problem,” “I have come to Abha to solve the problem,” the minister said.