A new plant for water as consumption soars

DUBAI - Increasing water consumption in Dubai is adding a considerable load to the sewage treatment system of the emirate and has compelled Dubai Municipality to opt for a new sewage treatment plant to increase its capacity.

By Zaigham Ali Mirza

Published: Tue 27 Jan 2004, 12:25 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:30 AM

This came to light during a Press meet organised on Monday at the civic body's head quarters, which was addressed by Talib Abdul Karim Julfar, Director of Drainage and Irrigation Department.

"We finished a treatment plant as recently as last year and it was supposed to meet the requirements till 2008/2009, but it is already working at full capacity. If we add more load to this plant, the quality of the treated water will suffer, and this is something we would like to avoid," Mr Julfar said.

He revealed that the department is currently working on setting up a new 26,000 cubic metre per day capacity plant, which is likely to be completed in four years' time, and may cost anything between Dh 600 million to Dh 1 billion.

"The new project will enter into the design stage in a month's time, and the designing will be completed in a year," he added.

Mr Julfar called on the members of the public in general, and commercial establishments and various government organisations in particular to use water with the awareness that it is a precious natural resource and needs to be conserved.

"The consumption of water in the emirate is about 90 gallons per person per day, while the normal consumption should be around 50 to 70 gallons. If the public can cut this average consumption of water by even 10 per cent, they would help reverse the age of the treatment plant - in effect adding one more year to the facility's life," he said replying to a Khaleej Times question.

As one of its concrete measures to bring down the consumption of water, the civic body, Mr Julfar said, is working to form a team of officials that will draft certain regulations for new buildings, something on the lines of the recent municipality-led implementation of regulations on thermal insulation.

According to Mr Julfar, commercial establishments such as hotels and restaurants, shopping malls, schools, clubs, offices, and other places such as mosques are some of the heavy consumers of water.

He pointed out that most buildings in Dubai are fitted with a pressure system for water supply, especially for the sake of bathroom showers, "but since there are other faucets which don't require that kind of pressure, more water is wasted," he added.

Mooting the advantages of using treated water for irrigation purposes Mr Julfar said that a considerable amount of sweet water could be saved if all irrigation requirements are supplied by the treated water network.

He cited the example of a sweet water-to-treated-water switchover implemented recently at a site in Dubai, where the consumption of water is 500,000 gallons per day, with an annual bill of Dh 3 million.

He pointed out that the switchover has helped save a whopping million gallons of sweet water, every two days. "Even from the financial point of view, using treated water makes sense," he said, adding that fresh water is available in the market at 3.5 fils per gallon, whereas treated water costs 0.5 fils to the gallon.

Mr Julfar revealed that all major hotels, realtors, and a golf club in Jebel Ali are all connected to the treated water network for their irrigation requirements.

"The treated water in our supply is of a very high quality, with technical specifications of less than 10 parts per million of suspended solids," he said, adding that additional load may spoil this quality.

Mr Julfar said that some of the department's non-core activities in irrigation could be given over to private companies.

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