Emergency Water Management System Need of the Hour

DUBAI — The UAE, one of the largest per capita consumers of water in the world, needs to set up an emergency water management system rather than rely completely on desalination to meet its escalating demand for water, experts say.

By Riyasbabu

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Published: Wed 15 Oct 2008, 12:16 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 7:31 PM

The rapid infrastructure developments, growing population, global warming and scarcity of conventional water resources are putting immense pressure on the UAE’s water resources that could lead to water shortage in the future, experts told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of Water Tech 2008, organised by International Quality and Productivity Centre (IQPC). The two-day conference kicked off at Crowne Plaza Hotel on Monday.

“The UAE is located in an arid region and the conventional water resources are limited. With the population growth and infrastructure developments in the UAE, demand for water is escalating. Currently the country is using desalinated water to meet the demand but if something goes wrong with the desalination plants, it will cause a severe water shortage,” says Dr Ahmed Ali Murad, Head of Geology, UAE University.

Dr Murad said the UAE needs to set up alternative sources for water to meet its demands rather than just relying on desalination.

Global warming also poses the threat of water shortage in the region and the governments in the region should be proactive to meet the water requirements by building sustainable buildings, setting up reservoirs and introducing renewable water managements system.

Describing water shortage as the region’s major concern, Mark Sutcliffe, Programme Assistant, Unesco, said the Middle Eastern countries should have an emergency water management system rather than relying on desalination for the water requirements.

“How will the authorities manage to meet the water demand if something goes wrong with the desalination? The region does not have conventional water resources to meet the demand,” he said.

“Global warming could cause severe water issues in the Middle East. The biggest problem to tackle this issue is lack of technical data relating to the troubles global warming could create to water resources,” says Dr Rachael McDonnell, senior scientist at Abu Dhabi-based Arab Water Academy..

Dr McDonnell said the regional governments should look to create technical data of global warming to take precautions to avoid water shortage.

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