A sign of the rampant hypocrisy that plagues our world: unsustainable sustainability

A sign of the rampant hypocrisy that plagues our world: unsustainable sustainability

1 August 2016

Last month, I get a DEWA bill which for water alone shows a consumption of over 45 thousand gallons resulting in a net water bill of circa 3,500 AED which is of course impossible given our very measured consumption. My initial thought is that they have mistaken the neighbouring villa for my meter as that one harbours 70 maids all squeezed in tight into the same kind of villa which as the family of my landlord has two identical villas side by side in Um Suqeim.

I file a complaint with DEWA considering they profess to be green and saving water and all that jazz. The result of the complaint is that a guy comes checks the meter and goes back to DEWA happy to have done his job. My complaint had however clearly mentioned that it was impossible to have that level of water consumption because we are very careful with water.

Parallel to that, just in case, I make sure the landlord’s company is aware that there might be a problem as we also had a shortage of water once or twice. As is usual with local landlords, the Indian staff keep saying that somebody will come but nobody turns up at all so we keep trying to live with the issue of shortage thinking that DEWA will come back with a solution to the issue. Meanwhile we have of course looked absolutely everywhere but cannot identify a leakage to the extent of all those gallons lost.

The next month, I get a bill with 69,000 gallons for circa 3,800 AED for water alone!! I don’t know if you understand my shock as it is more than impossible. I complain again saying this is quite impossible and even at the peak of consumption when all my children were here (they are now off for summer holidays with my ex) and we also had guests, the maximum it went to was 1,400 AED or a consumption of less than 20,000 gallons so could they please check properly. I highlight that there is visibly a problem because so much consumption is not possible and clearly water is being lost somewhere. I don’t believe even the 70 maids next doors could be reaching that level of water consumption.

Pom popom, the DEWA guy lazily comes in again and checks the water meter and is all set to go. We tell him that it can’t be just that and can he come and have a look inside the premises. After all DEWA is professing to be GREEN and to be saving the environment. I’d think trying to prevent over 40,000 gallons from finding their way to a desert grave would be incentive enough for an entity that professes itself to be GREEN and so connected to saving the environment.

The DEWA person assigned to review the complaint matter onsite has a wayward look everywhere, shrugs this thing off and says it is not DEWA’s problem if water is lost (sic!) and it is for the landlord to try to find out what is the matter as it is inside the premises.

Ahem, perhaps you want to rephrase that, I think almost aloud. We all know how local landlords are. We’ve been trying to get the landlord to fix the shortage problem. Imagine them thrashing around the place to find a potential leakage of water which is nowhere really to be seen. We venture a feeble “Don’t you think DEWA should be enforcing on landlords to make sure their property is per norms when they are renting to expats like us?” and another feeble “we can’t force these local landlords to do anything” but he is not too concerned. He mumbles that if we are not happy then we can go back to our home country. He is right and I would LOVE to do just that except that I simply cannot do that for now for personal and financial reasons

As somewhat of a solution to the whole problem with divine intervention, the pipe actually bursts yesterday night and we are now able to find out where the problem actually lies. As I write, I am sitting here now waiting for the landlord’s company to finally come and repair the whole thing instead of going to work as my helper is on vacation for the whole month. While I have been paying off the small items like issues with the ACs and the toilet blockage etc, I can’t see how a landlord, even local, can expect to see me pay for his whole water pipe system. Then again as the saying goes there is enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed. Incidentally, perhaps that is why there are these poor 70 odd maids packed like sardines in the next door villa, which is quite appalling if you think of it. Add to this fact that I have not even received my tenancy agreement as it would seem the landlord is not too keen for me to register it with RERA although he made sure to cash the check.

Now I am left wondering who is supposed to pick up that tab of circa 7,300 AED for water alone. Water I have not even got to use because it just seeped back into this empty desert sand. I am afraid the very green DEWA is simply going to wash its hands off the whole issue like they could not care less that a consumption of circa 600 AED monthly jumps all of a sudden to over 3,000 AED month after month. I am afraid the landlord might also attempt to wash his hands off the whole story and try to leave me with the damages to pay. Of course there are no proper consumer protection laws that would allow one to get appropriate compensation.

If you think of it, the fact that DEWA could even dismiss the discrepancy in the consumption is the clear proof of that two-tier hypocrisy system. Probably DEWA was under the impression that the landlord must have resorted to renting this villa out as well to another company housing another 70 odd maids within its premises like what he did next doors. Funnily enough this is a practice that is officially not allowed but it is becoming more rampant now in Jumeira and Um Suqeim while it was contained only to Jaffiliya and Bur Dubai before.

While I understand the need for two or three families to share a villa given the insane prices we have to pay in Dubai for housing as compared to our home location, the cramping of so many individuals inside the old houses because it is a cheaper option than a labour camp is simply appalling. It would seem that the old houses now are a better option to most companies housing their slightly more senior staff as the newer labour camps with proper arrangements that the government has been supporting are simply considered as too costly by these companies.

People only target the government for the problem of the labour camps but suffice to see that it is a matter of greed which goes back to the companies themselves. Indeed the new enhanced labour camps and other arrangements for mid-level personnel are available and they simply stay unoccupied as most companies are not willing to pay more to house their personnel under humane and acceptable conditions.

It is sad but very much a fact of the human condition that those who can change things fail to recognize that it is only in the establishment of a system that is palatable, steeped in truth and fair to everyone that you can build real sustainability.

Unsustainable – Muse

Second Law, Isolated System – Muse

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