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Saudi Arabia

Higher water bills create angry waves

JEDDAH: There has been a surge in complaints to the National Water Company (NWC) by Saudis about higher water bills resulting from the increased tariffs announced by the government late last year.
Citizens have registered their displeasure on the company’s social media pages because they claim that their bills have more than doubled since the new prices came into effect. Many also claimed that the NWC had failed to respond to their complaints.
Former Hilal player Faisal Abu Thnain wrote on Twitter: “Did the National Water Company change the quality of water pumped to citizens or has it added vitamins to it?” He claimed that his water bill was now SR30,000, according to a report in a local publication on Monday.
Other users also complained: Majed Al-Saleh wrote that his bill had risen from SR8 to SR1,429, Eman Alarfaj posted a picture of her bill on Twitter showing an amount of SR3,393, and Ibrahim Alasim wrote that his bill had increased from SR86 to SR1,024.
Journalist Tareq Aljasir wrote that he had filed a complaint about his bills over the past two months of SR1,200 and SR1,400, which he has not paid, but has yet to get a response from the water company. Haifaa Altamimi stated that she previously paid SR100 a year and was now forking out SR1,750 every three months.
Others concerned about the hike in prices stated that Saudis should not be treated like Europeans or Americans, because Muslims have to perform ablution five times a day. He said Saudi families are large, consisting of between five and seven members, which should be taken into consideration when looking at consumption.
Minister of Water and Electricity stated on its website that consumption was high in the Kingdom compared to the global average and that the public had reduced consumption despite several awareness campaigns.
Minister of Water and Electricity Abdullah Al-Hussayen had earlier said that most citizens would not be affected by the hike in prices, which were among the cheapest in the world. He said 52 percent of subscribers would not pay more than one riyal per day.
He said that supply would not be affected and that they were in line with the specifications of the WHO. The Kingdom ranks third after the US and Canada in terms of average daily water consumption, despite the scarcity of water and the difficulty in desalinating and delivering it to consumers, he said.

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