Children celebrate the reopening of Al Khazan Park by Dubai Municipality on Sunday. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: The re-launched Al Khazan Park has become the first Dubai park to run completely on solar power, an official said.

It is part of an ongoing drive to make Dubai parks more environment-friendly and energy-efficient, Mohammad Al Fardan, head of parks and recreation section, Dubai Municipality, said.

The municipality is also opening new parks, including at least two this week, to increase green space and leisure options for residents.

A new park is opening in Al Muhaisnah and Al Warqaa as part of the municipality’s Plantation Week 35, which ends on Thursday.

Meanwhile, older parks are undergoing renovation to improve facilities, Al Fardan said.

His comments came during the reopening of Al Khazan Park, a small community park in Satwa that was closed for around two years due to property projects in the area.

Dubai Municipality Director-General Hussain Lootah and Abdullah Al Shaibani, Secretary-General, Dubai Executive Council, toured the park early on Sunday along with other officials. Schoolchildren also visited the park to learn about green issues.

The park does not use electricity from the main grid, relying instead on solar power for lighting and irrigation pumps. Even the office and washrooms run on underground batteries charged by an on-site solar grid.

“We are carrying on from this example. We’ve started replacing old lighting in other parks with solar lighting. We are also raising the quality of playgrounds to best international standards,” said Al Fardan.

Al Khazan Park, which first opened in 1980, is named after the 40-metre-tall water tank centred in its garden.

Another attraction of the park is the variety of local plants, including the protected ghaf tree. Many ghaf trees from other areas have been replanted at the vast Mushrif Park in Al Khawaneej.

Al Fardan added that Mushrif Park has a new serviced picnic area and its swimming pool, which had been closed for works, will reopen within a month. The washrooms have been upgraded as well.

The focus on green space in continuing alongside Dubai’s urban development. Last year, Dubai Municipality announced plans to spend Dh6 billion to transform the emirate into a ‘green paradise’ by 2025. That includes expanding the irrigation system to increase landscaping projects around the city.

There was roughly 7,000 hectares of green space in Dubai last year. Officials want to increase it to more than 12,000 hectares in time for Expo 2020 through landscaping and horticulture projects.