Abu Dhabi produces 9% of world’s total desalinated water

The emirate has an installed capacity of 960 million imperial gallons of water production capacity per day


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Wed 16 Mar 2022, 7:00 PM

The desalination plants in Abu Dhabi produce 9 per cent of the world’s total desalinated water, a top government official said.

“The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region represents about 48 per cent of the total desalinated water output in the world. The UAE – the second largest desalination market in the world after Saudi Arabia – generates about 14 per cent of the total desalination water output,” Engineer Khadija Bin Braik, Director of Water Pricing and Tariffs at the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, said during the third Mena Desalination Projects Forum 2022 held in Abu Dhabi.

“The emirate of Abu Dhabi represents about 9 per cent of the world’s total desalinated water production, making it one of the largest producers of desalinated water in the world.”

Abu Dhabi has an installed capacity of 960 million imperial gallons of water production capacity per day (MIGD), while its peak demand is 833 MIGD – leaving enough spare capacity.

As much as 60 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s water supply comes from groundwater, 30 per cent from desalination and 10 per cent from recycling. More than 70 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s water is spent on forestry and agriculture, 16.5 per cent consumed by the residential sector while 1 per cent goes into the industrial sector.

The forum also discussed the way forward, in line with the climate change target and reduction in emissions by 2030 and 2050.

Engineer Braik underlined that the water and energy sectors are changing at an unprecedented speed.


“With the global Net Zero Target by 2050, we now have real momentum to achieve the carbon neutrality target. Abu Dhabi is a real change-maker in delivering a low-carbon economy. We have nine desalination plants of which four run on reverse osmosis (RO) technology providing 24 per cent of the desalinated water. With new technology and investment, we are going to raise RO desalination capacity to 40 per cent. This is energy and cost efficient and will reduce the cost of desalination and ensure great savings,” she said.

Leila Masinaei, managing partner, Great Mind Events Management, and organiser of the forum, added: “The governments of the Mena countries are seeking alternative ways to generate clean water, without harming the environment. Although there are new sustainable sources of generating water, such as from air, desalination still now remains one of the most viable sources to feed large communities.”

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