By: Fadi Nwilati, CPA, CGMA, CEO, Kaizen Asset Management Services

43% of UAE residents travel outside the country during the summer vacations and residents with children travel for longer periods during summer, so while the average family takes the right precautions before travelling for example turning off water heaters, disconnecting power sockets, and keeping the AC on at the right temperature, the majority forget an important post-travelling measure, cleaning their water pipes and ensuring a healthy water quality upon their return.

Local water distribution authorities continually monitor the water supplies physical, chemical and microbiological parameters to ensure the water quality falls within government recommended limits, however these tests are conducted at specific points, and not at the apartment or villa.

Free chlorine is present in water as a sterilization agent and should range between 0.2 – 0.5ppm (parts per million) this is essential in inhibiting bacterial growth such as E.Colis and Coliforms. Water that remains still for two to three days can be classified as stagnant as the chlorine degrades and therefore the water sterility drops permitting bacterial growth.

An investigation which KAIZEN Asset Management Services was involved in, demonstrated the importance of taking the right measures by understanding the time it takes for the water to become unsafe for usage while stagnant.

In apartment buildings, the risks are reduced when compared to villas as the main water tanks will still be in use by other residents and thus are rarely stagnant, however in saying this caution should always be taken as the water in the water heaters within the apartment may remain stagnant if the resident is away.

In villas, the risks are higher as villas would ordinarily have their own water tanks, so the water here would be stagnant for the entire duration of the leave and therefore the water purity will be at risk.

As a precautionary measure, specially for families with children, conducting water tests through a professional laboratory is an affordable exercise (costing approx. AED 500), and is a worthwhile investment for the peace of mind. The laboratory technician will test the parameters such as Total Plate Count (total bacterial colony forming units – not all bacteria are harmful), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (related to respiratory complications), Escherichia Colis (E.Colis) (related to digestive complications), and Total Coliforms.

Useful Tips For Residents, Property Managers & Facility Managers

Villa residents should ensure that their water tanks are being cleaned at least twice a year by a professional company who will empty and clean the water tanks after a lengthy vacation due to water stagnation. Landlords may even consider installing additional filters within the property as an added safety measure.

Residents coming back from vacation should flush the water within their property at every point (toilets, kitchens. etc) This method of shock flushing is advised should the water be unused for more than a couple of days only.

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