Water Security Strategy 2036
The UAE Water Security Strategy 2036 aims to ensure sustainability and continuous access to water during normal and extreme emergency conditions.
The strategy was developed from a comprehensive national perspective to cover all elements of the water supply chain in the country with the participation of all entities and authorities concerned with water resources in the country. Read more on UAE Water Security Strategy 2036.
The UAE has limited natural water resources. It uses thermal desalination as the dominant technology to make seawater potable. Today, most of the country's potable water (42 per cent of the total water requirement) comes from some 70 major desalination plants, which account for around 14 per cent of the world's total production of desalinated water.
Due to lack of freshwater sources, it is important for the UAE to identify a sustainable desalination solution to meet long-term water needs. Connecting desalination technologies to renewable energy is one solution.
The water consumed in the UAE is mainly desalinated, dependent on electricity in case of reverse osmosis, or a by-product of electricity generation through multiple-effect distillation (MED) and multiple-stage flash distillation (MSF).
According to State of Energy Report 2015, the demand for water grew largely at a rate of 35.8 percent from 2008 to 2012. The installed capacity for desalinated and groundwater reached 1,585 million imperial gallons per day, while water production was 393,878 million imperial gallons per year.
Some of the desalination plants in the UAE include:
- Shuweihat S2 power and water plant in Abu Dhabi: It has a production capacity of 1510 Mega Watt (MW) of electricity and 100 Million Imperial Gallons (MIGD) of water per day
- Jebel Ali power station in Dubai: It is the largest power and desalination plant in the UAE, with six gas turbines capable of producing 2060 MW and 140 MIGD of water.
- F2 Plant in Fujairah: It is a greenfield power generation and seawater desalination plant with 2850 MW of power capacity and 230 MIGD of water.
The UAE has paid great attention to dams and rainwater harvesting projects. Dams contribute to protection from floods and flow risks and improve the quality and quantity of the water situation in the aquifer by increasing the feeding rates of groundwater.
In 2013, the number of dams and levees amounted to 130, with a total storage capacity of about 120 million cubic metres of water.
Since 1982 until December 2013, the water captured in dams reached around 600 million cubic metres, which improved aquifers and agriculture.
Dams in the UAE include:
- Wadi Al Beeh dam (Length: 575 metres, height: 18 metres)
The dam is located in the northern part of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) in Al Beeh Wadi. It is constructed to feed the underground water. It supplies water to Al Burairat and Al Hamraniya in RAK.
- Wadi Ghalfa dam (Length: 235 metres, height: 8 metres)
The dam is located in the Masfout region in Wadi Ghalfa, a middle agricultural region and is constructed to feed the underground water.
- Al Shuwaib dam (Length: 3,000 metres, height: 11 metres)
Located in Al Ain, it is one of the largest projects carried out by the government to impound water and enhance reclamation. It has a storage capacity of 31 million cubic metres.
- Wadi Wareaa dam (Length: 367 metres, height: 33 metres)
The dam is located in the eastern agricultural region of the UAE, Wadi Wareaa. It slopes from Masafi hill and pours into Gulf of Oman. It is constructed to feed the groundwater and protect the area from floods. It feeds the areas of Al Badiya and Khor Fakkan.
- Wadi Basira dam (Length: 885 metres, height: 8 metres)
The dam is located in the eastern agricultural region of the UAE, in Wadi Basira. It is constructed to feed the groundwater areas in Dibba and protect the area from floods.
- Wadi Ham dam (Length: 2800 metres, height: 16 metres)
It is located in the eastern region of the UAE in Fujairah and is constructed to feed the underground water, protect the area from floods and enhance water quality. The dam feeds the local areas in Fujairah and Kalba.
- Wadi Azan dam (Length: 110 metres, height: 10 metres)
It is considered as a small dam which impounds water and mitigates its speed. It is located in the northern agricultural region in Wadi Azan and constructed to feed the underground water. It feeds Azan and Al Hamraniyah areas.
- Wadi Al Ghail dam (Length: 26 metres, height: 4.5 metres)
It is located in the northern region in Wadi Al Ghail. It is constructed to supply irrigation water for Al Ghail area and feed the underground water.
The UAE launched the Water Security Strategy 2036, which aims to ensure sustainable access to water during normal and emergency conditions. The strategy aims to:
- implement integrated water resources management by reducing total demand for water resources by 21 percent
- increase the water productivity index to USD 110 per cubic metre
- substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity, by reducing the water scarcity index by 3 degrees
- improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimising the release of hazardous chemicals and materials and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse of treated water to 95 percent
- achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by increasing national water storage capacity.
Supporting global efforts to provide potable water
The UAE saves no effort in expanding international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies.
Suqia - UAE Water Aid is a non-profit organisation established to support international efforts to provide potable clean water to people in need around the world and to contribute to finding permanent, sustainable and innovative solutions to water scarcity.
The UAE Water Aid Foundation also conducts studies and researches in coordination and partnership with educational, academic, and international organisations to support water production using solar power, and contributes to financing and supporting water-technology projects to combat drought.
The ‘Suqia’ campaign was launched to provide access to fresh drinking water for 5 million people around the world. The campaign, which was supervised by the UAE Red Crescent, received an overwhelming response and was a remarkable success. It surpassed its targets, collecting over AED180 million in 18 days, which is enough to provide water to over 7 million people around the world.
Updated on 19 Mar 2019