MoEI Assistant Undersecretary: World Water Day is Opportunity to Focus on Water Managemen

Source: 3/23/2024, Location: Middle East

His Excellency Eng Ahmed Al Kaabi, Assistant Undersecretary for Electricity, Water, and Future Energy Sector, highlighted that World Water Day is an opportunity to focus on sustainable water management. This edition is held under the theme 'Water for Peace', reflecting on the important role water plays in establishing peace and stability around the world.

He said: “Water is a basic human need and a major factor in driving the process of sustainable growth. As for us in the United Arab Emirates, water is one of the most important national priority issues, given our geographical location in an arid area and the scarcity of our natural water resources, and with the high demand for water for development purposes. Socially and economically, we rely mainly on non-traditional sources to produce fresh water for drinking purposes and various uses, as the contribution rate of non-traditional water resources reached 53%, including water produced from seawater desalination and the reuse of treated wastewater within the water supply system.”

He added: “The United Nations report issued on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agenda indicates that the UAE has achieved an average of 100% in providing safe drinking water and sanitation services. The country has also achieved a result of 79% in the field of integrated water resources management, which is one of the best results regionally. We seek to improve this result in the coming years, by ensuring alignment and integration between the country’s water, energy, environment, and food strategies.”

He noted that the UAE seeks through the National Energy and Water Demand Management Program 2050 to enhance efforts to reduce consumption, support innovation in the fields of renewable energy, improve the environmental performance of power and water plants and raise their efficiency.

His Excellency Eng Al Kaabi said: “As part of the UAE’s efforts to strengthen the global water security system, the country has launched, through the Mohamed bin Zayed Water Initiative, the XPRIZE Water Scarcity competition, a five-year global competition that aims to encourage innovators around the world to focus on transforming the reliability, affordability and sustainability of water desalination technologies. The outcome is expected to touch the lives of billions of people around the world, ensuring their access to clean water.

“In addition, the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure joined forces with the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) to launch the first hydrogeological map and geo-database of the UAE, a milestone achievement in documenting and managing water sources with the goal of sustaining and conserving water.”

He added: “The UAE has adopted strategies and initiatives to improve water resources management, support strategic water reserves, and increase the area and efficiency of rainwater harvesting, with the aim of enhancing natural groundwater resources. The UAE is adopting advanced technical solutions to utilize wastewater to irrigate crops – a solution that contributes to cutting down environmental pollution and reducing the depletion of natural water resources.

He noted that in 2017, the Ministry unveiled the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036, which aims to ensure sustainable access to water during both normal and emergency conditions. The overall objectives of the strategy are to reduce total demand for water resources by 21 percent, increase the water productivity index to USD 110 per cubic meter, reduce the water scarcity index by three degrees, and increase the reuse of treated water to 95 percent.

His Excellency Eng Al Kaabi emphasized that the UAE has 140 plants to treat wastewater in addition to plants owned by the private sector. The total design capacity of wastewater treatment plants nationwide is 3 million m3/day, and the total production of treated wastewater reached 768 million m3/year. Around 73% of the treated water is reused mainly for irrigation of green spaces in cities.

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