conference ‘Challenges for Water Sustainability’ organised by the College of Graduate Studies at the UAE University Al Ain with the cooperation of Schlumberger Water Services. One of the conclusions reached was that a great deal of scientific and applied research is needed if sound management policies are to be implemented to address problems related to the quantity and quality of water resources in the UAE and the GCC countries.
Public awareness campaigns are also employed to advise on how to use water wisely and avoid water waste or over-use of water. In particular, a drive to cut down water usage in certain high consumption areas, such as labour camps and hospitals, is under way.
A great deal of scientific and applied research is needed if sound management policies are to be implemented to address problems related to the quantity and quality of water resources in the UAE.
In line with the overall federal strategy, during the next three years the Ministry for Environment and Water (MEW) will focus on reducing the use of groundwater and shift to alternative sources such as desalination. Also, the ministry will increase its groundwater surveillance network to more than 183 wells, increase the number of observation networks by 35 per cent and complete the building of 11 freshwater channels. The ministry’s plans include a renewed focus on modern irrigation methods, the reuse of waste water and a national plan for the maintenance of dams. The ministry will also seek to train UAE nationals in and foster an increased awareness of rational water use.
Nature may be able to assist the UAE in meeting rising utility needs, with solar and wind energy possibly offering not only a way to meet demand but at the same time assist in reducing carbon emissions: the generation of 200 MW of renewable energy would cut annual carbon emission rates by 1.5 million tonnes. Studies are being undertaken into the wider use of solar power, especially for use in desalination, and the private sector is also being encouraged to develop alternative systems with the result that many new buildings are being designed and built with energy efficiency in mind.
With the recent launch of the Masdar alternative energy initiative, Abu Dhabi is intending to diversify the UAE’s energy and technology offerings, becoming not only a world leader in oil but energy more
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