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Life in Jeddah FAQ 2 – When the Water Runs Dry

Life in Jeddah FAQ 2 – When the Water Runs Dry

Our water still goes out from time to time, so I’ve learned how to make the best of it. How do I cope when the water is out and I must cook and clean? It’s not as hard as you think. Here’s a brief FAQ:

Q: How long do you go without water?
A: It depends. Sometimes the water is off for 3 or 4 days at a time. There have been times when the water was off for just a few hours. In some parts of Jeddah the water is off for weeks at a time, while in other parts the water is always running. When the water is running, I store some of it in bottles and jugs to make my situation easier to handle when it does go out.

If you’re coming here for Hijrah, I’d suggest you find out which district you are going to live in before hand and ask others about the living conditions just to mentally prepare yourself. Some employers already have furnished apartments ready for their employees, so there’s a great chance that you’ll be able to find out where you’ll be living In Shaa Allaah.

When we first moved in, there were large jugs and tons of empty soda bottles all over the place. We soon realized that these bottles and jugs were for storing water. When the air starts to turn a bit foul, I know that the water will soon be off. It’s like a warning sign so to speak.
Q: How do you clean without running water?cleaning
Normally I don’t unless I absolutely have to. If I must, then I take one 2.25 liter bottle of bottled faucet water and pour it into a large pot, boil it, then pour the water into an extra-extra large bowl. I then add another 2.25 liters of room temperature water to the hot water just to make it cool enough for me to put my hands in to wash the dishes.

I have a double sink, so I wash in one and rinse in the other. To rinse the dishes, I use just 2.25 liters of water and try to sprinkle it evenly over the soapy dishes. I then use that same water to wipe down the stove and countertops. After the dishes are done, I leave the water in the bowl so to make tomorrow’s dishes easier to clean…kind of like a pre-soak. To sum it up, you can wash and rinse the dishes with 3 large soda bottles of water.

Q: How do you cook without running water?
This is not a major problem per se. I don’t actually “cook” with water from the faucet anyway. I do use it to wash/rinse my food (like fruits and veggies). I do the actual cooking with spring water. When the water is off it just slows me down but it doesn’t bring everything to a halt.

Please do not use the faucet water for cooking, not even to boil your food or you will get sick with infectious diarrhea commonly known as “Hajji Pooh.” No one (unless they’re truly in despair and have no other choice) drinks or cooks with faucet water. Boiling faucet water will not clean it to the point where you’ll be able to drink it….you will still get sick, just not as sick.

Alhamdulillaah, you will see spring water machines in residential areas. Anyone can go and take as much as they need for free. I don’t see anyone using these except the destitute, Allaahu Aa’lam.

Q: What about the laundry?
I have a twin tub machine. Looking at it, one would think that it was just a plastic contraption waiting to break down. Not so! These little twin tub washing machines are strong. I actually like them more than the contemporary washing machines. This type of machine generally hooks up to the faucet, however it runs just fine without it. You take several buckets of water and pour it into the machine add detergent and that’s it. When you want to rinse, just take the draining hose and put it into the drain in your kitchen or bathroom floor, pour clean water over the clothes and let them swish around a bit more to make sure all the laundry detergent is gone, then put the clothing into the spin tub.

The twin tub machine requires more hands on work, but I love how strong it is and how fast I can get my laundry done. One morning my zawj did not have a clean thawb for work. I threw one in the twin tub machine to wash for 3 minutes, rinsed it for 2, then ironed it dry in about 5 minutes. The rinse cycle in the twin tub machine is very good….the thawb was nearly dry when I took it out. The twin tub is better than the automatic machines for situations like mine. You can not do laundry at all with the automatic machine if your water is off. When I am sick or pressed for time, I use my automatic washer.

Mopping: Mopping is very easy. I dump a bucket of water on the floor then squeegee (sp?) it all down the drain. If the water is off and I know that I need to mop, I save the water used to bleach my white clothing in the twin tub washer, then drain the washer and allow all the water to gush out all over the floor…then I squeegee it down the drain. I save water this way. Normally my bleach water is clean enough to use twice. {Do what you gotta do ….you know.}

It’s a little harder to clean the bathroom when the water is off because I need to scrub and rinse everything. When the water is on, cleaning it is very easy. Just scrub, then take the hose (already installed in the bathrooms here) and spray it down. If you open your bathroom window, everything will dry on its own in no time due to the heat….you don’t have to squeegee the bathroom if you don’t want to Alhamdulillaah.

Flushing the Toilet: Yes, you can still flush when the water is off, just take about 3 soda bottles of water and pour it in the back (or directly in the bowl – it’s much easier), then flush.  Some homes have flat toilets (a porcelain hole in the floor)…I have no idea how the people cope with these when the water is off.

Istinjaa: Na’am. You can buy spray or squeeze bottles from the Riyaalayn store. These little bottles are good for travel too. They fit nicely in hand or diaper bags.
In Shaa Allaah I’ll share something from Shaykh Bazmool and Shaykh ‘Ubaid regarding Istijmaar and an excerpt from Shaykh Fawzaan (hafithahumullaah)  just in case there’s a situation when there’s no water available at all.  These rulings are important for us to know.

Water Tanks: The custodian for our building will go from door to door collecting money to fill the water tanks. This may cost an equivalent of $7 USD depending on how many people in the building are home at that time. If the water comes from the water truck, it just might have a putrid smell or it may even be yellow, so let it run a bit before using it.

Govt. Water: The govt. will send water too alhamdulillaah. You can tell the govt. water from the tank water by the pressure. The govt. water has light pressure, the tank water has normal pressure.  This water is said to be 100% pure (see the Q/A below). You can’t always tell the govt. water from the water brought here by the trucks. I do not drink either one (again this is my personal preference).

Water Bills: We don’t really have those, at least not in my building. You pay a small fee when it goes out. Govt. water is free.

In Shaa Allaah we’ll discuss rent, food bills, etc. in another post.


12 thoughts on “Life in Jeddah FAQ 2 – When the Water Runs Dry

  1. Asalaamu Alaykum ukhti

    I think the tap water quality depends where you are and how it is sourced; Allaahu Alim, where we stayed in Jeddah when we visited (in a residential building in quite a poor area) the water was fine; we didn’t drink it as the spring water was so cheap but we did drink it boiled (i.e. in tea) and use it for cooking; no problem. The kids were also fine; they didn’t get sick once; and we stayed for a month. Then again I have been to Sudan and drank the tap water of central Khartoum; as I was a guest in someone’s home and did not want to offend; I was fine then also! Perhaps that doesn’t say much for the water quality in my own country….

    Umm Abdullaah

  2. Wa ‘alaikumus salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. May Allaah preserve you. I made tea once with the water here and felt the ill effects immediately.

    My daughter always get sick from it. I have to watch her like a hawk because she loves to drink her bath water. I recently caught her sipping from the Istinjaa hose – I could have fainted. She gets “Hajji Pooh” bi-monthly it seems.

    So, na’am I guess you are right…it all depends. In Shaa Allaah the new comers will have to research the area they wish to live in as best as they can, however I still advise against it just to be safe, Allaahu Aa’lam.

    Jazaakillaahu khairaan for your input ukhtee.


  3. As salaamu alaykum,

    We have the same water problems in Yemen and in Egypt. I am sure, insha Allah, many will find your tips helpful.

    I wish that I would have known about the water problems when we first touched down in Egypt. We learned the hard way. Then we filled up these great huge Rubbermaid tubs that we had brought as luggage with water so we could do a lot more things when the water was off. But of course we had to change the water very often or it would get nasty.

    Now in Yemen, we use 20 liter containers with handles, much more easier to handle and then save the water containers that we buy our water in (about 5 liters).

    And it really does depend on where you live like you said, in some areas, the water still goes off, but not as much. We have had some of those 3-4 day stints of no water in the past, but alhamdulillah, they are not frequent. Its usually a few hours or so. Sometimes its just a matter of getting a water truck, sometimes a matter of someone in the builiding turning on the water pump, and in one case, they were doing major repairs to the street so it was off for days.

  4. As salaamu alaykum wa rahamatuLlaahi wa barakaatuh,

    Masha’Allaah, barakaAllaahufeekee for all these tips! Whenever we run out of water, I freak out and just want to move out of this apartment/area! lol!!! It’s quite a challenge for me especially that I have a pre-schooler and a baby.

    But at the same time, not having water teaches us a lesson on how to conserve water and actually also try to follow the sunnah of using only a little for wudu or ghusl.

    Anyhoo, jazakeeLlaahukhayran again for this nice article.

    Umm Mussab

  5. As salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Umm Ibrahim, ahsanallaahu ilaiki, your web sites are so beneficial. Keep up the good work ukhtee.

    We also have to give the water salesman the empty jugs when we go to get more water, and na’am if the stored faucet water sit too long it will become stale.

    I too wish that I was informed of some things before coming as it would have made my transition a lot easier. The day that I realized I could flush the toilet when the tanks are dry was such a blessed day…smiles. I was afraid at first, but took a chance and Alhamdulillaah I did not flood the place.

    I wish the water authorities would take note of how much water each building use per day/week/month then observe and compare the averages over a bit of time, then fill the tanks accordingly. When the water is near to its estimated depletion point, they can come and fill the tanks up, that way we won’t have to be without. It’s easier said than done I guess.

    Umm Mussab, hee hee heee. I know how you feel about wanting to move as I too was stressed out when it first happened. Na’am, it’s a struggle being without water, but In Shaa Allaah you can store it and make things easier for yourself and your family. Wallaahi you are right about following the Sunnah. It’s best in every era and situation.

    Baarakallaahu feekumaa sisters for your input.


  6. I would like to know where in Jeddah I can buy dried fruits and nuts in bulk. I’ll be grateful for a reply.

  7. Hi Haneefah:

    I am new to Jeddah and would love to ask you some questions. Please email me when you get a chance.

    thanks and all the best.

  8. Assalaamu Alaikum

    We ran out of water in Madinah. Can you give us some tips on how to wash your hands, taking a shower, etc.

  9. Wa ‘alaikumus salaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Some time ago I started preparing part 3 of “Life in Jeddah FAQ.” In Shaa Allaah I will have it on the site between this Fri. & Sat.

  10. Assalamualikum Ukhti,

    Came across your website when I was browsing through TJ’s site.I live in Riyadh now (past 9 months) and have previously stayed in Al Khobar, Dammam. Alhamdulillah, have not faced water problems, but was still happy to know how to handle such situations if I do come across one. Jazaka Allah Khair for the info. I was just wondering if you had any info on life in Riyadh, or had any friends in Riyadh, would love to join some classes here.

    Thanks for your time

  11. Wa ‘alaikumus salaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Baarakallaahu feeki. Yes, In Shaa Allaah I will send you links to hijrah related E-groups where you can chat with sisters in Riyaadh and links to blogs on life there.


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