A display draws inquisitive visitors to Zayed University on Sunday, where “A Day to Celebrate Climate Solutions” was held. Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News

Dubai: What better use for sand than a sand-timer that measures just four minutes of time — enough time to take a decent shower without wasting needless water.

Gadgets like these and many like it make it easy to change lifestyles and preserve resources like water.

The shower sand-timer, the idea of Shaikh Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi from Ajman is not on the market but adapting any sand timer for this purpose is a step in the right direction.

UAE residents use 550 litres of water per person per day, an amount two to three times more than the world average of 180 to 200 litres.

Water misuse is a huge issue in the Arab world due to the high water scarcity status of the region. Analysts say per capita water use in the UAE overall is roughly four times that of Europe.

The desalination process in the UAE has grown to meet rising demand and population growth with an annual production rate in 2008 of 4,878 million cubic metres of water, from 1,081 million cubic metres in 2000, Gulf News reported earlier.

The Arabian Gulf suffers from a lack of fresh water feeding into it and water flow has decreased from 85 billion cubic metres in the 1980s, to around 28 billion cubic metres today.

"We need long-term investments in our environment," said Shaikh Abdul Aziz on the sidelines of the Global Environment Salon held to mark the search for climate solutions yesterday at Zayed University. "The short term is already fragile but if people can invest just 10 minutes for the long term, then in 10 years a lot can be achieved," he said.

Shaikh Abdul Aziz, in collaboration with Zayed University is pushing for a ‘people movement' to raise awareness on the very urgent need to bring down CO2 levels in our atmosphere.