‘Outdated public utility laws to blame for Jeddah floods’

‘Outdated public utility laws to blame for Jeddah floods’
WAKE-UP CALL: There is an urgent need to reconsider public utility laws in view of the many disasters that happened in Jeddah.
Updated 13 July 2016

‘Outdated public utility laws to blame for Jeddah floods’

‘Outdated public utility laws to blame for Jeddah floods’

RIYADH: A female Shoura Council member blamed the public utilities laws which have not been revised, and those in charge of the public parks, for the many disasters that happened in Jeddah.

Hanan Al-Ahmadi, the Shoura member, expressed wonder and surprise at how the changes and renovations touched on the ministries, after a number of them were canceled, and others merged, while other systems remained unchanged despite the many changes which have happened across the Kingdom over the past 30 years.
The council member affirmed there is an urgent need to reconsider the systems for water conservation resources, protecting of public utilities and the wastewater drainage networks in term of redesigning their content and the punitive provisions, mechanisms of implementing it in case of violations, and other related issues.
Al-Ahmadi stressed on the need to review these systems seriously, indicating that these systems are important and touch on substantial development needs, but some of them are very old, dated more than 30 years, and no longer fit the current requirements.
She said that Article 12 of the Public Utilities Law stresses the importance of the utilities’ mission to control and investigate violations in accordance with the applicable procedures established by a committee comprising the Ministries of the Interior, Municipal and Rural Affairs, Agriculture and Water, Communications, Industry and Electricity, and the Ministry of Postal, Telephone and Telegraph, which does not exist, or at least the name has changed.
The surprise came when the Shoura member confirmed that some of these systems are not activated on the ground, citing the disasters that occurred due to the failure of applying these laws.
“Article 1 of the Utilities Protection Law provides the implementation of the laws on water, sewerage and discharged of floodwater, electricity, telephone and public roads in addition to railways and the other relevant issues. I personally wonder where the system, which is still in place after 30 years, actually was when the disaster of the Jeddah floods occurred mainly because of the infringements on floodplains? Where is this system which ignored the abuse of the parks and streets occupied by some powerful persons for years without any sort of accountability? And what is the use of the law if it only was produced on paper? And what’s the point of adding the defamation penalty if the previous punitive provisions are not already activated?” Al-Ahmadi asked.