Pilgrims complain of Zamzam water shortage in Makkah

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Updated 07 July 2014
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Pilgrims complain of Zamzam water shortage in Makkah

Pilgrims and visitors are becoming hard-pressed to find bottled Zamzam water with the influx of worshippers flocking to the Grand Mosque during Ramadan and the lack of availability at points of sale.
While Zamzam water, which comes from the Zamzam well at Makkah, is available in abundance in the coolers inside the mosque, pilgrims are unable to find bottled Zamzam water because the only sale point is located in a district that is not frequented by foreign pilgrims.
“I can’t find any bottles to take back to my hotel room,” said Mohammed Abid, an Indian pilgrim who has come to perform the Umrah pilgrimage.
“I also find it too embarrassing to fill an empty bottle with water from the cooler since so many people are waiting in the queue to drink behind me.”
“I want to take Zamzam bottles back home with me, but I can’t find any to purchase,” said Swad Al-Bastawesi, an elderly Egyptian pilgrim.
Other pilgrims echoed similar views about the nonavailability of Zamzam water.
“Around 1,200 cubic meters of Zamzam are consumed every single day inside the Grand Mosque and 486 cubic meters in the surrounding courtyards,” said Ahmed Al-Matrafi, director of the Zamzam Water Department at the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs.
“This translates into around 3 million cups of water daily.”
“In addition, around 300 cubic meters are supplied to the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.”
Supplies are only available in abundance at the Zamzam filling station, located in a faraway area known only to local residents. The filling station, operated by the National Water Company (NWC), is part of a King Abdullah project launched for this purpose.
The area is not even known to residents from Jeddah and other parts of the Kingdom.
“I was approached by several brokers offering to buy the Zamzam filling coupons I had gotten my hands on for double the price, much to my surprise,” said Mohammed Saleem, a Pakistani expatriate who works in Makkah.
The NWC sells coupons for SR5 for a 10-liter jar.
A Saudi national is entitled to 20 jars, while expats are entitled to acquiring 10 jars a month.
The quota, however, is reduced during the peak seasons of Ramadan and Haj.
Saleh M. Sulaimi, a Saudi national, warned that a black market for Zamam water is emerging in the absence of points of sale around the Grand Mosque and in parking and public places.
Inspection squads from the Makkah Municipality and Commerce Ministry recently seized thousands of fake Zamzam water bottles.
Pilgrims can also purchase Zamzam water at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and the airport in Madinah, even though other nearby outlets are limited to selling a five-liter bottle per person.
“I managed to purchase a 10-liter quantity for SR35 at the airport in Jeddah,” said Mohammed Irshad Ali Parvez, an Indian expatriate.


Website launched to support housing project in Saudi Arabia

The Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Housing are working together to provide the necessary services for citizens from different social classes. (SPA)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Website launched to support housing project in Saudi Arabia

  • Real estate financing for January hit SR4.7 billion, and coming months were expected to see even bigger figures, Al-Hogail told Reuters news agency on the sidelines of a housing conference in Riyadh

RIYADH: A new website has been set up to support a housing project for 10,000 units in the Kingdom.
Housing Minister Majid Al-Hogail, and Commerce and Investment Minister Majid Al-Qassabi on Sunday launched Benaa Housing, which will help construction companies and contractors contribute to a development program in the Kingdom.
Benaa Housing aims to speed up the process of building 10,000 housing units in various parts of Saudi Arabia by enabling small and medium enterprises in the construction sector to access and contribute to projects and opportunities. The estimated cost of the project is SR3.5 billion ($910 million).
“The Ministry of Housing is always keen to provide adequate housing, solutions, and services suitable to all families, especially the beneficiaries of the Housing Development Program in all regions of the Kingdom,” Al-Hogail said.
Al-Qassabi said the new platform would generate more business opportunities for small and medium enterprises and provide suitable apartments for middle-class and lower-income families.
“The Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Housing are working together to provide the necessary services for citizens from different social classes and groups, and the new platform is the fruit of these efforts,” he added.
Earlier this month, the housing minister said he expected investments in the real estate financing sector to reach between SR60 billion and SR80 billion this year.
Real estate financing for January hit SR4.7 billion, and coming months were expected to see even bigger figures, Al-Hogail told Reuters news agency on the sidelines of a housing conference in Riyadh.
Saudi home ownership was growing between 6 and 7 percent annually, he said, adding that he hoped to raise home ownership to 15,000 new households per month by 2020, from a little over 10,000 per month now.
The ministry aims to increase housing ownership through policy and stimulating the private sector, according to its website.
The challenges facing the ministry are the limited availability of suitable units for all parts of the population; difficulty in accessing adequate housing finance; the inefficiency of the real estate sector and heavy reliance on government funding.
“Even though 47 percent of Saudi families already own their homes, we aim to increase this rate by 5 percentage points by 2020,” the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan states. Vision 2030 also aims to speed up construction and provide Saudis with high-quality, competitively priced housing, and to stimulate localization of the country’s construction industry.