Abu Dhabi: Nearly 13 litres of water goes into producing a single tomato, including growth, irrigation and transportation to the consumer.
The fact that most people are unaware of this fact, as well as about how much water is used to produce the food on our plates, shows the need to underscore the conservation of this vital resource.
A range of awareness activities were held yesterday by the Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre (ADFSC) at the Abu Dhabi Corniche on Friday , including a kilometre-long March for Water and several competitions for young children. The free events, which coincided with the United Nations celebrations of World Water Day, saw the participation of nearly a 1,000 residents.
“The aim of these activities is to show young people the value of water and stress on the need for water conservation,” Ray Moule, technical services adviser at the ADFSC, told Gulf News.
“The agriculture sector in the emirate is the main user of water, so it is also appropriate that we work to raise awareness about the importance of conservation,” Moule added.
According to statistics provided by the centre, the agricultural sector is responsible for nearly 56 per cent of water consumed in Abu Dhabi emirate. The ADFSC, which works directly with about 16,000 of the emirate’s 24,000 farms, is therefore looking at ways to reduce the agricultural consumption of water by 40 per cent by 2014.
“For example, we are advocating scheduled irrigation systems in farms, which ensure that water valves are open within farms for only a certain set period of time each day. Not leaving the water valves open all day in this manner reduced 100 irrigation hours per week in a pilot project,” Moule explained.
The ADFSC official said the biggest challenge in ensuring water conservation on farms is modernisation.
“One method we urge is integrated pest management, which introduces natural predators on farms instead of spraying pesticides with water. In tomato cultivation for instance, a parasitic wasp can be used to prey on the white flies that harm……tomatoes,” Moule said.
On the other hand, the biggest hurdle in encouraging individuals to save water is still lack of awareness.
“People simply don’t know how much water is needed for various key activities, such as providing food. This is what our activities this year strive to achieve,” he added.
ADFSC representatives also visited more than 10 schools this year ahead of World Water Day to educate children about water sustainability.
“This is the first time we are organising activities for World Water Day, and we hope to continue doing so in future years,” Moule said.