A meeting was held in Ta’iz, Yemen, in observance of the World Day for Water, 1998. The meeting was attended by representatives from major organisations associated with foreign aid and development, local community and local and central government representatives, NGO’s involved in environmental protection, and, in the name of public awareness, several hundred noisy school children. The meeting was hosted by the relatively newly established national body responsible for water resources. After the meeting, a group of smartly dressed people representing most of these organisations went on a brief field trip in a rather new and luxurious Layla ‘alawi (latest Toyota Landcruiser status symbol, named after a Yemeni politician’s daughter who acquired one). The chosen destination was a 400m deep borehole in Habir being tested to determine its safe yield with a view to connecting it to the main pipeline supplying the city of Ta’iz 25 km to the South. After a brief conversation with the engineer responsible for the test, a nearby shallow well dug into the wadi gravels was visited, from which its owner happened to be irrigating a field of tomatoes. Standing in his farm-soiled local dress he informed the group with great conviction regarding the detrimental effect the pumping test was having on his water supply. The group then returned to the Governor’s lunch awaiting them in the city of Ta’iz, the 400,000 inhabitants of which, received poor quality water once every 3 weeks from the public utility.