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
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.