A leaking pipe was being fixed on Thursday after several complaints were lodged by residents of Rabwa district.
“Hundreds of calls were made to the relevant officials informing them about the water leak that virtually flooded a street and its residential neighborhood in Rabwa over the last 15 days, but they came to fix the problem only on Thursday,” said Dania Almaeena, whose house is located on the street. “There was no reaction, no response … no concerns shown despite several calls made by me personally since the leak started a fortnight earlier.”
The first reaction from the water company was a “thank you” for reporting the leakage, but it didn’t swing into action until 15 days after the first call. There are several such instances in which water officials or technicians arrive to locations only after several days or weeks.
This lackluster response is contrary to the policies of the NWC, which has announced a target to reduce the amount of water leakage by 20 percent.
The NWC estimates that 60 percent of Riyadh’s water supply is lost through leaks in the system.
In another instance, a leaking water pipe in one of the streets of Malaz area was repaired only after three weeks from the date of lodging the official complaint, said Hisham A. Kamel, an Arab expatriate.
“The leaking pipe on the street in my locality was repaired only after we made at least 50 calls to the relevant officials, including the municipality and the NWC,” he said. “They promised that the problem would be resolved in a few hours, but it took nearly three weeks to repair the pipeline.”
The problem of water leakage is quite common in Riyadh, whose 10,000-km network of pipes transport water to the sprawling city’s 4.5 million residents.
Water leakage in the networks across the Kingdom results in losses amounting to more than SR3 billion annually, according to a study conducted by the Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy. The center is a joint research group consisting of scientists from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The current capacity of desalination plants within the Kingdom is estimated at six million cubic meters per day, a record that is expected to rise to more than 10 million cubic meters per day over the next five years.
The water, produced by desalination, is a costly proposition.
The Kingdom’s main cities depend on desalination for more than 90 percent of their needs. The Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy estimated that 30 percent of water transported daily across the country via the pipelines, mainly to Riyadh, Jeddah and Madinah, is lost due to leakage.

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