The Future of Water in the Desert

ABU DHABI - Efficient use of treated sewage effluent and reducing per capita water consumption are the key components of a strategic water master plan prepared for the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

By T Ramavarman

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Published: Mon 23 Mar 2009, 1:14 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 8:31 PM

The Environment Agency — Abu Dhabi (EAD) and its partners announced the scheme in a statement on Saturday, ahead of World Water Day today and as figures warn both fresh and ground water reserves in the emirate will be depleted by 2050 at the current rate of use. Ground water currently contributes 71 per cent of the total water demand in the emirate.

The management water resources — insuffient in availability and deficient in quality — constituted the most daunting of challenges to development plans, said Dr Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water.

The UAE had adopted a national strategy for sustainable development of water resources, which had led to the spread of greenery, fighting desertification and introducing modern farming techniques, he said.

Shaikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the board of the EAD, saidthe emirate’s ground water supply had been reduced by 18 per cent since 2003.

“The total consumption of water resources in the emirate of Abu Dhabi is up to about 24 times of the natural regeneration of these resources,” Shaikh Hamdan said.

This has been attributed to the rapid development in the emirate over the past four decades. The population is predicted to grow to 3.5 million by 2030.

Shaikh Hamdan said the UAE government had made large investments in building desalination plants and laws controlling the use and management of water resources were planned.

The plan calls for steps to prevent overuse of ground water reserves, greater reliance upon desalinated water and use of local plants tolerant of the arid region where less than 100mm of rainfalls per year on average.

Agency figures find that the emirate’s residents consume 550 litres per day.

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