H.E Mohammed bin Jarsh Al Falasi, Under Secretary of the Department of Energy (DoE), Abu Dhabi Energy Department, presented the strategies, policies and water conservation plans of the Emirates during the second annual Cairo Water Week, titled 'Responding to Water Scarcity' from October 20 to 24, 2019.
The event, which brings together more than 10 international organizations and experts from 56 countries, brings together the public and private sectors to discuss and integrate decision-making in the water sector.
Al Falasi participated in the topic entitled ‘Achieving SDGs under Water Scarcity’, where he outlined the hydropower in Abu Dhabi, the various technologies used for water production, and the emirate’s strategic approach to achieving water and environmental sustainability.
“Water intensity is high in Abu Dhabi due to the hot desert climate and rainfall. Our supply mix includes 60% groundwater, 30% desalinated water and 10% recycled water. However, because 79% of groundwater reserves are high salinity, we rely heavily on desalination to provide usable water.” said by H.E.
“Abu Dhabi is one of the world's largest irrigation producers - we have nine desalination plants, with a total capacity of up to 960 million imperial gallons per day, the 3,500 km network is transported and distributed over the 13,000 km network.” said DoE Undersecretary.
The high demand for water is driven by agriculture and irrigation - which accounts for 70% of water consumption - in addition to climate, the government's commitment to large green spaces, residential buildings, commercial and industrial uses.
This quote is said by Al Falasi: “As our population grows and water demand increases, our ground water supply decreases. Currently, 200,000 wells produce 2 billion cubic meters of groundwater annually, 87% of which are used for farms consumption."
To address these challenges and prepare for the future, the UAE has embarked on Water Security Strategy 2036, reducing the total demand for water resources by 21%, increasing the reuse of purified water to 95% and increasing the national water storage capacity by two days.
DoE Undersecretary added: "In Abu Dhabi, we have set targets to reduce water losses by 10%, reduce the intensity of indoor and outdoor water use by 12%, and increase the use of recycled water by 100% by 2030."
“We continue to use Reverse Osmosis (RO) as the preferred and most cost-effective technique for water desalination. Today, our total dehydration water is produced by 120 MIGD RO, while 840 MIGD is produced using traditional heat removal methods.” this was continued noted by him.
Since the new plant is capable of 200 MIGD, Al Falasi explained how Abu Dhabi's RO technology can be relied upon when the mega water desalination project is fully operational at the Taweela Power and Water Complex in 2022.
H.E also highlighted the Liwa aquifer - the world's largest reserve of 26 Mm3 of high-quality desalinated water, completed in January 2018 in Abu Dhabi. This project is enough to save 5.6 billion gallons of water, or enough to supply 180 liters of drinking water for one million people for 90 days.
Another highlight of the DoE Undersecretary's presentation was the introduction of the Abu Dhabi Demand Side Management and Energy Consumption Rational Strategy 2030. With 9 major projects including district cooling, efficient water use and water reuse, the project aims to reduce water consumption by 32% and energy consumption by 22% by 2030 on a 2013 baseline.
As part of the Cairo visit, H.E. Mohamed bin Jarsh Al Falasi meets Egyptian Minister of Water and Irrigation H.E Dr. Mohamed Abdel-Aty to discuss opportunities for expanding knowledge sharing and cooperation between Abu Dhabi and Egypt.
The meeting was also attended by representatives from the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Food Safety Commission - Cairo Water Week.