Stock - Abu Dhabi skyline
New benchmarks are being set on water and power usage in Abu Dhabi. And Department of Energy is doing all of that. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: Abu Dhabi’s Department of Energy is redoubling efforts to conserve power and water usage in the emirate.

Legislations have already been put into effect on a recycled water policy as well as regulations for the district cooling sector. In this regard, the scope of district cooling services in Abu Dhabi has been expanded. Earlier this year, a regulatory framework for waste-to-energy power plants was launched, and a ‘Clean Energy Certificate Scheme’ was launched recently.

“Stringent standards are implemented to govern the way these amenities reach their homes while ensuring public health,” the DoE said in a statement. “These risks don’t exclusively affect the homes this energy is eventually delivered to, but also the surrounding environment that bears the brunt of the energy generation process.”

“This is where the Department of Energy has a vital role to play in monitoring procedures, implementing regulations, ensuring quality, and protecting all parties involved – from the operator to the consumer, but also the environment, where efforts are made to curb carbon emissions and minimise pollution.”

In the first six months of the year, the DoE attained a 99 per cent compliance rate, a score that continues the run of recent years. The pandemic imparted its own lessons on what needs to be done on the sustainability side.

“The pandemic was a lesson for government and private institutions on the importance of proactivity in preparing for challenges and crises, and agility in navigating them,” the statement added. “The DoE collaborated with Khalifa University of Science and Technology and other partners to conduct scientific research into the quality of treated water during the pandemic, to ensure it is free of contaminants, especially SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19.”

Extensive testing
The Department of Energy has set stringent water quality standards with specific security, safety, and sustainability requirements. Companies operating in Abu Dhabi exhibited a high level of compliance with the standards, scoring a 96% compliance rate in the first-half of 2021.

To ensure every person in the emirate is provided with clean water on a daily basis, the DoE oversaw more than 25,000 tests on water samples from distribution companies in this period.

The DoE’s HSE Director Abdul Rahman Alalawi lauded the companies for their commitment, transparency, and high level of compliance with the standards.

The Abu Dhabi Wastewater Monitoring Laboratory was set up to analyse wastewater samples for early detection and prevention of infectious diseases. The Lab can detect hazardous and harmful substances, pinpointing the source and the reasons behind them as a means to prevent them and preserve the environment.

“It serves a critical purpose in tracing chemical, physical, and biological hazards, and instituting an early warning system that accurately locates pollution sources or infection hotspots,” the Department of Energy said. “This information lays the groundwork for calculated plans and effective solutions to be developed to add a further layer of protection against environmental and health catastrophes, where samples are collected and put through rigorous data analysis procedures that rely on advanced AI-powered data analysis.”

The project is now scheduled for completion in the first half of next year.

Key department sets down markers

The HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) Department oversees the internal and external quality control systems, keeps carbon emissions under control, and tracks companies’ compliance with emission caps. The HSE Department also reinforces health and safety standards across energy sector companies.

The Department recently updated the Water Quality Regulations, incorporating a guide for chemicals and products that come in contact with drinking water. It has also introduced a clarification regarding the sampling, testing requirements, and accreditation for laboratories.

Updates to reporting requirements and timelines for initial entries and water quality reports were also introduced to the regulations, along with updates to the Drinking Water Safety Plan (DWSP).

The other set of updates were to the Recycled Water and Biosolids Guide.

  1. According to the Department of Energy, legislations, regulations, and standards are a means to guarantee the production of energy that is safe for humans and the environment.
  2. Consistent monitoring efforts helped cut emissions and ensure high water quality.
  3. The Abu Dhabi Wastewater Monitoring Lab was launched to analyse wastewater samples to ensure the early detection and prevention of infectious diseases.
  4. Initiatives were launched to protect energy sector workers from infectious diseases and work-related illnesses and incidents.