When 2014’s charitable Ramadan initiative was launched, UAE Water Aid’s goal was to raise sufficient money to dig wells that would provide clean water for five million people.
By the time the fund-raising effort had finished, however, an unexpected Dh180 million had been donated, enough to provide assistance for a projected seven million people in 10 countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Iraq.
As Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said at the time, the cause had a particular resonance for Emirati donors. “In our country, water is a great blessing. Our ancestors had been deprived of water, thus they knew its value.”
As the list of countries assisted by the initiative suggests, water shortages may happen elsewhere, but in the UAE they are increasingly the stuff of memory and, for younger generations, of a past defined by almost inconceivable scarcity and hardship.
In one Abu Dhabi neighbourhood, however, an improbable survivor of those older generations still stands, a memorial to scarcity amid a modern landscape of abundance. In 1965, the old Abu Dhabi water tank was one of the most vital pieces of the capital’s strategic infrastructure, the reservoir for a lifeline without which the city as we know it could not have developed….
For the rest of this article, please visit The National