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Ministry of Energy unveils UAE Water Security Strategy 2036

ABU DHABI, 27th September, 2017 (WAM) -- The Ministry of Energy unveiled on Wednesday the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036, which aims to ensure sustainable access to water during both normal and emergency conditions in line with local regulations, standards of the World Health Organisation, and the UAE’s vision to achieve prosperity and sustainability. The announcement was made at the UAE Annual Government Meetings taking place in Abu Dhabi.  The overall objectives of the strategy are to reduce total demand for water resources by 21 percent, increase the water productivity index to $110 per cubic meter, reduce the water scarcity index by three degrees, increase the reuse of treated water to 95 percent, and increase national water storage capacity up to two days.

Suhail Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy, affirmed, "The UAE Water Security Strategy 2036 came as a result of consolidated efforts between federal and local water authorities to explore and define a vision for the water sector in the UAE and to ensure adaptability to future demands on water resources." He added, "The strategy aims to ensure sustainable water supplies in various circumstances to meet the needs of the community and the economic prosperity of the UAE." Al Mazrouei pointed out that the comprehensive, long-term strategy covers all components of the water supply chain throughout a time frame of twenty years. It focuses on three main programs: the Water Demand Management Program, the Water Supply Management Program and the Emergency Production and Distribution Programme.

 The strategy also tackles policy development, legislation, water conservation awareness campaigns, use of advanced technologies, innovation, and building national capabilities in the field of water security. "The Water Security Strategy 2036 seeks to reduce average consumption per capita by half as well as focus on sustainable practices, for instance one of its key aims is increasing the reuse of treated water to 95 percent," Al Mazrouei explained. The strategy seeks to develop a storage capacity for the water supply system that lasts for two days under normal conditions, which would be equivalent to a capacity of 16 days in emergency situations, and enough to supply water for more than 45 days in extreme emergencies.  Water networks will be able to provide 91 liters of water per person per day in cases of emergency, or 30 liters per person per day in cases of extreme emergencies. The strategy also includes the establishment of 6 connecting networks between water and electricity entities across the UAE. Once implemented, the Water Security Strategy 2036 will achieve savings of AED 74 billion and reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), associated with water desalination process, by 100 million metric tons.  The long-term strategy addresses the challenges of future water security taking into account a number of concerns which include the scarcity of freshwater resources, depletion of groundwater, high water demand, high water consumption per capita and high water losses in the water system due to efficiencies in both irrigation and usage of treated water.  The Water Security Strategy 2036 seeks to encourage initiatives focusing on water efficiency, waste reduction and behavioural change. It will also introduce reforms to current water subsidies that have a negative effect on the sustainable development and the environment.  A number of programmes will be launched to ensure the protection of non-renewable groundwater, the development of non-traditional and sustainable water sources, increasing the use of renewable energy in the water sector, and ensuring compliance with water quality standards.  The strategy also takes into account strategic water storage and transport improvements, as well as prevention of tainting of water supplies as a result of oil pollution. 

WAM/Tariq alfaham