Dubai: A litre of water saved in a harsh desert climate is a litre of water earned, say conservationists ahead of World Water Day being observed on Thursday.

In a country parched for water and largely dependent on desalination to provide potable water for 9.3 million people nationally, experts stressed that reducing water usage in all aspects of life will slash the need to keep going back to the well.

On average, the national water consumption rate including personal, residential, commercial and agriculture, stands at 550 litres per day in the UAE as compared to 170-300 litres per day per capita internationally.

World Water Day reminds us to conserve water use to preserve dwindling groundwater aquifers and place less stress on desalination plants, which pump heated brine water back into the environment after cooling down plant operations.

Laila Mustafa Abdul Latif, Director General of the Emirates Wildlife Society-World Wildlife Fund in the UAE, said conserving water now is critical to meet growing demands of the future.

“Water is essential to humanity, animals and agriculture, and with demands expected to rise by 30 per cent globally in the next 32 years, it is absolutely crucial that we consume carefully and responsibly to ensure it is available for future generations to come,” Abdul Latif told Gulf News.

“Instead of trying to control nature, we have turned to it for solutions. Areas like wetlands play an important role in water storage as they act like sponges; preserving them will contribute positively towards maintaining water levels,” she said.

Few people truly stop and think about the amount of water they use on a daily basis and link it to the degradation that bringing water to homes can cause.

David King, managing director of water-saving firm Verteco, has established a website with tips for the public to slash water consumption in their homes.

For example, UAE residents who take daily showers use an average of 15 litres of water per minute.

Other daily or weekly chores such as washing dishes, house cleaning or laundry also consume vast quantities of water, King told Gulf News.

“Another big problem people tend to forget are leakages within the home; faulty toilets, dripping taps or leaky shower faucets,” King said.

In some parts of the UAE, estimates are that 15 to 17 per cent of residential water consumption is due to leaking infrastructure within the home, he said.

While fixing leaks with new taps and other maintenance checks, King said one enormous way to slash monthly water bills is to greatly reduce the water flow into the home using a governor type device that limits water intake to taps and washing machines.

King said conserving water is easy once a resident takes steps to be more water conscious.

“It’s inexpensive, it’s easy and you will see results immediately,” King said.


By the numbers


• UAE residents use up to 550 litres of water per day (international average is 170-300 per day, making it 82 per cent higher than the world average).

• The UAE has one of the highest water consumption levels in the world due to climate, population and income.

• The UAE has highest bottled water consumption per capita (265 litres per year}

• The UAE accounts for 14 per cent of the world’s desalinated water


— Compiled by Mariam Jheran, Gulf News Intern