The UAE capital Abu Dhabi has launched a ten-year integrated water resources management plan until 2030 to tackle water scarcity issues over the long term.
The plan defines the directions and priorities of the Abu Dhabi Government and all parties, operating in the water sector until 2030.
“We will adopt international best practices in innovation, and anticipating the future, reduce the gap between available water resources and their increasing demand and determine government investments in this vital sector,” notes Hamdan bin Zayed al-Nahyan, chairman of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD).
Al-Nahyan cited the importance of ‘people [spreading] awareness about preserving water resources, reducing waste, paying attention to water demand management by reusing treated sewage water, adopting modern agricultural methods, and cultivating local plants that are resistant to climatic factors’.
Abu Dhabi, similarly to most countries and cities located in this region’s belt of dry, arid land, lacks renewable water sources in the form of rivers and lakes and has low levels of rain.
This has meant resorting to unconventional and high-cost water resources to support its growing population and economy over the past decades.
MEED understands the per capita share of naturally renewable water in Abu Dhabi is less than 100 cubic metres a year (cm/y), which is one-tenth of the internationally recognised water poverty limit of 1,000 cm/y.
According to the UAE’s Minister of State for Food and Water Security, Mariam Saeed Hareb, enhancing water security is one of the most important pillars of the country’s preparation for the next 50 years.
“The UAE is seeking to meet the growing demand for water by finding solutions for the challenges of the freshwater shortage in the country,” Hareb said.
These solutions include expanding the use of reverse-osmosis techniques in desalination, employing solar energy technologies to prevent dam water from evaporation, and producing energy and developing technologies for water harvesting systems.
The executive also cited the need to rely on modern agriculture technology, which can save approximately 90% of water compared to traditional irrigation systems.