Water shortage an indicator of a “better future?!” [Archives:2008/1147/Community]

April 17 2008

By: Majed Thabet Al-kholidy
Because water is the most essential requirement for people's lives, its shortage was promised in the last presidential election to be solved not only in the cities, but also in the villages. In short, our nation was promised a better future, but the water shortage is worsening day by day until many wonder if this really is “an indicator of the better future.”

Water shortage threatens the entire nation with human catastrophe while the government has initiated no real solutions. A year and half has passed since the last elections, during which time the “future” is progressing, but it's coming without any “better,” as promised.

A year and half ago, Yemeni residents received water every 20 days, but it wasn't enough. Citizens complained and constantly displayed their anger, but there was no real response by the authorities. Instead, the responses were from the people themselves, who sought to obtain more tanks to store more water so it would be sufficient for them during those 20 days.

With our dear president's promise of a “better future,” people were hopeful that the water problem would be solved. For example, some said that instead of distributing water every 20 days, “it will be every 10 days.” They thought the president said “a better future,” so it would be only 10 days, but if he had said “the best future,” it would be every day, but this may be the case in the next presidential election.

A year and a half has passed and water now is distributed every month and a half. This is the case now, but maybe after another six months, it'll be every two or two and a half months. This means that by the time of the next presidential election, water will be distributed every five months. Even if water isn't distributed at all, there will be no problem in the next elections; people won't be angry because they'll be too wrapped up in the election propaganda.

What's more interesting is that water bills are distributed regularly every month. A friend of mine received a bill for February and another for March; however, during the period covered by these bills, water wasn't even distributed in his area!

This really is a matter to be investigated because how can these bills be calculated monthly when no water has been distributed for more than a month? Bills are calculated by taking the number of units on the meter; however, since no water was distributed during this period, the units on the meter must be the same as that of the previous month. What surprises everyone is that the amount for March is similar to the amount for February.

As an urgent solution, citizens began buying water tanks, with a 1,000-liter tank costing YR 1,200, but suddenly, the price rose to YR 2,000. For such a period of time, a family of five may require at least three tanks. Additionally, they should pay their water bill every month; otherwise, the water office will remove their meter.

This is just one indicator of the “better future” Yemenis received as a gift for their “loyalty” during the elections. There are other indicators, such as price hikes, unemployment, poverty, etc., but life goes on. It's really a matter of wonderment for all residents, who ask themselves thousands of times, “What's coming after all of this?”

Majed Thabet Al-kholidy is a writer from Taiz, currently doing his M.A. at English Dep, Taiz Uni. He is an ex-editor of English Journal of the University.