Dubai: With the average daily water consumption at 550 litres per person in the UAE, almost three times the global average, national concern over future water shortages is on the rise.
The results of a recent survey show 28 per cent of Emiratis worry that natural resources, like fresh water, will be an issue for the next generation. The survey included interviews with 1,700 residents in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
The survey was conducted by YouGov Siraj, a global marketing research company, on behalf of Procter and Gamble (P&G), a global producer of fast-moving consumer goods. The environmental research findings were released as part of P&G's Protect Future Generations (ProGen) campaign that will be launched next month.
Further results revealed that over one-third of people in the UAE have not heard of or do not understand the term "sustainability". This shows that the levels of awareness of environmental challenges are significantly low in the GCC region.
In addition to low awareness levels, experts believe that high rates of apathy among the UAE's population with regard to conserving water are also widespread.
"Not many people are willing to make basic behavioural changes in how they use water," said Professor Bassam Abu Hijleh, head of the sustainable design programme at the British University in Dubai. "People know what needs to be done but very few people do anything."
He added that simple techniques to conserve water would be to take shorter showers and use advanced irrigation methods such as drip watering instead of a hose to water the garden.
"The application of simple behavioural changes could add up to significantly decreasing a person's total water consumption," said Abu Hijleh.
However, Jamie Waskey, Associate Director of YouGov Siraj, believes that unfamiliarity with the term could be due to language barriers.
"When you look at results by nationality there are differences, language is one factor that comes into play," she said.
"Sustainability is an English term and the Arabic equivalent, ‘istidama,' has not been in wide use as long as the English word."
- -550 litres, daily water consumption of average person in the UAE
- -UAE daily water consumption is 3 times more than world average
For more information on the ProGen campaign log onto: www.smallstepsarabia.com from April 1.