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UAE is world's third largest water consumer after U.S.

BY MOUSHUMI DAS CHAUDHURY / 25 December 2004

DUBAI - At present, the UAE is the world's third largest per capita water consumer after the US and Canada. The consumption of water is expected to increase by 44 per cent to 3.2 billion cubic metres by 2025, according to a survey.

The ever increasing demands of water in the country is met by an extensive desalination programme, and it has made the country now the second largest producer of desalinated water after Saudi Arabia. 

Recently, Degremont, Suez's specialised water treatment arm, in collaboration with Tractebel EGI,  completed the construction of the Reverse Osmosis desalination plant in Fujairah with a desalination capacity of 37.5 MiGD (170,000 cubic metres per day). This will help to fulfill the requirements of the Northern Emirates.

This reverse osmosis station built by Degremont is part of a larger complex that includes a new 630-megawatt generating plant and a thermal desalination unit that will raise the output of drinking water for the Emirate. 

Fujairah is the largest reverse osmosis seawater desalination plant built to date by Degremont and acceptance test of the plant was successfully completed in early 2004 and station was put into service in June 2004.

According to an  official of Degremont:  “Degremont has built 10,000 facilities in 60 years all aover the world and 1 billion people are served by the company with 3,000 drinking water plants and 2,500 waste water treatment plant.’’

According to statistics, UAE is the third among 10 major countries using desalination and reverse osmosis for treatment of water and this region requires 16,000 MW by the year 2010.

Last year, two companies from Germany,  undertook the groundwater exploration programme under the supervision of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and discovered several new water wells in the Western region.

So far, 190 exploration and 65 groundwater monitoring wells have been drilled and tested. Alongwith the new wells, more than 130 recharge and storage dams have been constructed to utilise an estimated 150 million cubic metres per year of wadi (seasonal river) flow from 15 main catchment areas, nine major recharge dams witha  capacity of 47 million cubic metres  per year and other with a capacity of about 60 million cubic metres per year is also not enough for the emirates.

So, one more desalination plant has been started in Al Taweelah  A1 Project, situated in Taweelah complex in  Abu Dhabi with a capacity of 380,000 cubic meters per day. This project now acounts for approximately one-quarter of Abu Dhabi's water production.

The consumption of water is increasing year-on year as population is growing and construction work is also in full swing in the UAE. Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA) in order to increase the supply of water will install a new water filtration unit at Layyah Desalination plant and Dh 120 million will be spent on the construction of an 8 MIGD desalination unit at the plant.

Apart from this, Zulal Water factory in Sharjah will have a new five gallon bottle line producing 1200 bottles of water per hour at a total cost of Dh 1 million.

Last year, Umm Al Qaiwain signed a Dh 31 million contract with Metito International to build a desalination plant which will help to meet a growing demand fo drinking water. The plant will produce 2.5 MIGD from five desalination units, each with a production capacity of 500,000 MIGD.

 
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