UAE | Environment

Expert sounds alarm on dwindling water resources

Awad underlines need to step up conservation measures

  • By Binsal Abdul Kader, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 October 25, 2010
  • Gulf News

Tap water
  • Image Credit: GULF NEWS ARCHIVE/Ahmed Kutty
  • The UAE faces growing challenges with water usage, 24 times larger than the total annual renewable water resources of the emirates.

Abu Dhabi: About 20 per cent of the geographical area on earth experiences physical water scarcity, of which most of the areas are in highly populated developing countries such as India and China, an expert told Gulf News.

The UAE and its neighbouring countries also fall under water scarce area, Mohammad A. Awad, Chairman, Middle East and Asia at Schlumberger said in an interview in Abu Dhabi recently.

"Whereas around 40 per cent geographical area on earth do not experience water scarcity, of which most of the areas are less populated developed nations," he said.

Approximately less than 10 per cent of the world's population live in such countries, the executive said.

Another 40 per cent of the areas are facing "economic water scarcity" which means people do not have money to buy water, Awad said.

Water use will increase by 50 per cent in 2025, compared to 2005, he said.

The UAE and its neighbouring countries are implementing several water conservation measures to address water scarcity, but at the same time people should be educated to minimise consumption, the executive said.

Aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) projects in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah involving the injection of freshwater in an aquifer through wells or infiltration basins for the purpose of creating a subsurface water supply that is recovered at a later time, are highly commendable, he said.

Since the geography in the region is suitable for water storage in aquifers, other Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait are also implementing similar projects, Awad said. But dwindling water resources and increasing water consumption demand sincere efforts for water conservation on the part of people, he said.

Everyone should minimise the use of water in daily life, he said.

20% of world's land area does not have access to water

50% projected increase in water use in 2025

550 litres per capita is UAE's daily water consumption

High consumption

The UAE faces growing challenges with water usage, 24 times larger than the total annual renewable water resources of the emirates.

UAE residents are among the highest per capita water users in the world, consuming an average of 550 litres per day.

The authorities have decided to reduce the usage of water to 350 litres per capita per day over the next five years.

Being the driest region in the world, freshwater availability in the region is around 30 per cent below the level needed for water security.

Per capita water share is projected to fall by half by 2050, according to Arab Water Academy (AWA).

Experts anticipate the number of Arab countries suffering from water scarcity to climb up to 18 by 2025 from 11 at present.

Comments (1)

  1. Added 12:53 October 25, 2010

    The problem of water and electricity waste comes from those housings where water and electricity is included in the rent and not as per metered usage like in private houses. These persons think why should I take the trouble of saving water or electricity when the monthly bill is the same. Such houses use maximum A/C and water. If they were charge on basis of usage they they would switch of A/Cs and equipment not in use etc. Metering every house or apartment is initially costly but saves energy life long. Most of the new housing units have water and electricity bill included in rent which they should change and you will see the energy savings.

    Julius, RAk, United Arab Emirates

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