It is very difficult to speak about the utility industry in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi without mentioning one of its great personalities, Abdulla Hassan Hamar Ain Al Dhaheri.
Hamar Ain was one of the UAE nationals who have been mentored and guided by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God have mercy on his soul. It is the journey of light and life that commenced in the early 1960s and ended up with electricity and running water in every house and farm. Since Distribution magazine is documenting this journey we found it mandatory for us to interview this man.
Speaking to him ,we found out that Mr. Hamar Ain is a man of real humbleness and a brilliant speaker. He told us about his career with the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Department (WED) that lasted for 30 years of dedication and hard work.
Hamar Ain recalls; “I joint WED in 1968 after completing high secondary school and because I was fluent in English I have been appointed as the head of the Supply Department of WED in Al Ain. This city I love so much because it was the place in which I was born and brought up and spent my entire life in it till now. I spent ten years in this position during which I learned a lot about water and electricity industry and I realized its importance in the march of development then taking place in all areas in our country under the wise leadership of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God have mercy on his soul”.
“In 1972 I got a scholarship to study office administration in the High Institute in Cairo,” he said.
First Undersecretary of WED;
After completing my studies I have been appointed as the First Undersecretary of WED in Al Ain and I occupied this position for 20 years during which time the department did a lot of achievements, thanks to the support of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God have mercy on his soul, the directives of H.H. Sheikh Khalifah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, then Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and the follow up of Sheikh Tahnoon bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Eastern Region and Sheikh Suroor bin Mohammed Al Mahyan, then Chairman of WED. The department was working in close coordination with WED main office in Abu Dhabi.
Electricity in Al Ain;
“The first power generator in Al Ain, with 1 megawatt capacity, was commissioned in 1960s in Sheikh Zayed Palace, now Al Ain Palace Museum. It was providing the palace itself and some of the surrounding buildings and farms with electricity,” he recalls.
The turning point in utilities industry in Al Ain came with the; “Establishment of Al Ain power plant with five gas turbine generators made by the UK company Hawker Siddeley and later we added more generators from Switzerland and France followed by the establishment of small plants in some remote areas like Al Wagan, Al Qua'a and Umm Al Zamool,” he said. “ However, supplies were never stabilized except after the construction of Umm an-Nar to Al Ain grid line with the total capacity of 220 MGV and another one with the total capacity of 400 MGV and a third one from Al Ain to Al Qua'a with the total capacity of 220 MGV then we were able to leave aside all power plants in AL Ain for emergency purposes only,” Hamar Ain added.
Water supplies in Al Ain;
Water supplies in Al Ain then were drown from a number of wells, “The production of these wells was scarcely enough for meeting the area’s needs as the city was growing significantly and rabidly and to meet this we constructed 18-inch water pipeline from Umm an-Nar plant and another one from Al Taweelah Island with the total capacity of 4o mgpd thus we managed to secure the city’s entire needs of water,” he recalls.
The premises of department was first located in the city center area, Al Sharri Al Am, and has been relocated in a modern building in the Civic Center just next to a number of government departments.
The late Sheikh Zayed;
Sheikh Zayed was very keen on providing people with water and electricity services even before his own palaces, he used to urge us to tend to work on the field and not just sit behind closed doors and to make sure that all people, locals and expats alike, get running water and electricity. I recall that he used to tell that the new IT systems and facilities we got should not keep us working from the convenience our offices, instead we should work on the field and inspect every site by ourselves. These words were directed particularly to those who are in leading positions, Hamar Ain said.
Sheikh Tahnoon bin Mohammed;
Sheikh Tahnoon bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, the Ruler Representative in the Eastern Region, used to visit water and electricity plants on regular basis to make sure that department is doing its work well without any problems. Challenges; “Lack of supplies was the main challenge then facing the department, this why cases of water and electricity supplies interruption were very recurrent. This is besides transport and communications facilities were very limited making us exert tremendous efforts and time in securing supplies. Sometimes we used to spent the whole night to resume a pierced water pipeline or malfunctioned power line to work.
Open door policy;
“In keeping with the directives of the late Sheikh Zayed, I have maintained a good relationship with all those who were working with me as well as customers. I used to meet them in all times and listen carefully to their complains and concerns and visit them regularly in their offices,” Hammar Ain said.
“The incorporation of Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) in 1998 was a great leap in the water and electricity industry in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Diab bin Zayed Al Nahyan, ADWEA former chairman, with whom I worked for a short time, did his job with great degree of dedication and integrity that resulted in the authority great performance.
Al Ain Municipality;
In 1998 H.H. Sheikh Khalifah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, then Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, issued a decree appointing Hammar Ain as the First Undersecretary of Al Ain Municipality and Town Planning Department and he occupied this position till 2004. “It was very fruitful period during which we did many achievements to serve my people and beloved city and its dependencies. The foremost of the projects we did are the traffic tunnels, housing and roads projects. The late Sheikh Zayed used to order us to “keep Mabazara area ever green” and we successfully did that, thanks God. Upon his repeated visits to Mabazara Sheikh Zayed was ordering every of the area visitors to provide with free dinner. He also ordered us to provide each UAE national households with free 15 palm saplings. H.H. Sheikh Khalifah and H.H. Sheik Tahnoon also kept track on what the late Sheikh Zayed used to do as they visit Mabazara to make sure that everything is in order”.
Hammar Ain spends his time today in running his own businesses and visiting his own farms in evenings.
Hammar Ain’s enjoys walking every day morning, after dawn prayer besides shooting and hunting
Hammar Ain has nine sons and only one married daughter. Some of his sons are also married and others are students besides a number of grandchildren With a heart full of love for God and his country, Hammar Ain is enjoying living in the city which he loves more, enjoys its scenery and socializing with its goodhearted people He bid us farewell with a big smile as he greeted us.