Network water leaks prove costly for Jeddah’s parks
THE Jeddah municipality budgets SR200 million every year to maintain and improve the city’s parks and green areas but repeated breaks in the city’s water network means green areas are drying up as water meant for parks’ sprinkler systems is instead leaking out onto the streets, Al-Riyadh daily reported.
One of the major reasons for the repeated breaks in the city’s water network is the ongoing excavation work being carried out for mega projects all over the city. Companies carrying out the mega projects often take weeks to fix the breaks they cause, meanwhile depriving parks of much-needed water.
A lack of coordination among the municipality’s various administrations plays a major role in this problem, which hinders efforts to improve Jeddah and set up additional green spaces.
Experts say companies responsible for breaking parks’ irrigation networks should be forced to fix and restore them using high quality materials and replant any vegetation destroyed as a result of construction work.
Anas Mufti, an engineer working with one of the companies assigned to grow trees, plants and grass in over 70 percent of Jeddah’s parks and streets in the central, eastern and northern parts of the coastal city, said carelessness on the part of contractors is the reason behind the drying up of plants in many streets and parks.
According to Mufti, the cost of importing and planting a single palm tree can reach SR1,000 for certain species.
“It is painful that a contractor comes and breaks the irrigation networks for these trees and plants, eventually causing them to wither. The reason is that these companies do not realize the great lengths the municipality has to go through to import these trees and plants and the cost of planting and maintaining them,” he said.
On average, plants need between 8 and 14 liters of water per square meter to grow. During the summer, palm trees need additional water and this requires a permanent source of water. Several people who regularly frequent Jeddah’s parks said once water flow to parks is disrupted, it is only a matter of weeks before the parks turn into deserts.
Most of the parks that are still green are due to the efforts of the residents of individual districts. Residents called on the municipality to accord more attention to plants and trees especially since the city has thousands of square meters that have not been planted or need re-planting.