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Abu Dhabi takes steps to reduce water consumption

posted on 21/03/2014: 3682 views

World Water Day, which will be observed on Saturday, is highly relevant to the UAE as it has one of the highest per capita consumption rates of water and energy.

A UAE resident uses 550 litres of water and 20-30 kilowatt hours (KWh) of electricity a day against the international average of 170 to 300 litres and 15kwh per day respectively, according to the Federal Water and Electricity Authority (Fewa).

In the UAE, better conservation practices can save 14-17 per cent of water and energy, according to Fewa. The authority has adopted a three-pronged strategy to encourage consumers to minimise consumption. The strategy includes an awareness campaign targeting students and their mothers, agreements with government organisations and higher tariffs. FEWA clarified last week that the increase in tariffs will not affect the consumers who use resources at an optimum level.

The utility provider's plan to introduce a mobile app to track utility bills regularly will also reduce water and energy consumption, an expert told Gulf News. Such applications have reduced consumption by 15 per cent, Samir Al Bahaie, regional policy manager, Middle East and North Africa, at Google, said. He said the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has already introduced an efficient mobile app and a bill tracking facility is expected to be added in it soon.

World Water Day observed by the United Nations aims to raise awareness of the inter-linkages between water and energy, and sustainable water use. About 8 per cent of global energy generation is used to pump, treat and transport water to various consumers.

In Abu Dhabi, excessive water consumption has prompted the government to frame the Water Resources Management Strategy in line with the Emirate of Abu Dhabi 2030 Plan. The purpose of the new strategy is to reduce the pressure on water sources in the emirate, to improve the standard of living, and to promote economic growth.

Abu Dhabi's total consumption of water resources reached up to 3.3 billion cubic metres in 2011 and it is expected that the demand for water will increase for up to about 5 billion cubic metres by 2030.

The current using of groundwater reservoirs is about 15 times more than the natural recharge rates. With the increase of population from 212,000 in 1975 to more than 2 million by 2011, demand for fresh water resources has also increased and the emirate bears high cost of desalination of sea water.

The emirate's five year strategy aims to minimise the impact of water production, transmission and distribution on climate, air, soil and marine water quality.

According to the United Nations Water Programme, water scarcity already affects almost every continent and more than 40 per cent of the people on our planet. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world's population could be living under water stressed conditions. We feel this acutely in the Arab region; of the 22 Arab League nations, eight have the lowest water availability per capita in the world. – Gulf News -


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