The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment joins the global celebration of World Water Day, which is being held under the slogan, ‘Water and Jobs.’ This worldwide celebration aims to showcase the ability of the water sector to provide job opportunities, thereby helping out in the move to eradicate global poverty while also enhancing work environment conditions and promote an increase in productivity and improved efficiencies among all employees.
On this occasion, His Excellency Minister Dr. Thani Ahmed AlZeyoudi, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, has expressed that the Ministry has placed great importance and priority to the water segment, emphasizing the significant role it plays in the road towards achieving sustainable development—under the vision of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
“The geographical and climactic conditions of the country show an absence of natural water sources, lack of rain and increasingly hot temperatures--leading to high evaporation activity. These have become challenges in the move to provide the country with a stable supply of water. As a solution, the UAE has adopted seawater desalination and the utilization of processed water as part of a water resources diversification strategy,” said Minister AlZeyoudi.
These two options is expected to provide a stable supply of pure water for use by all sectors. However, the rising costs of these processes and its impact on the environment has led UAE's wise leadership to look into other procedures, which makes use of more modern technologies and are based on best practices, like the use of renewable energy as seen in the launch of the water desalination facilities in Al Ghantoot, Abu Dhabi last year.
Stakeholders in the UAE have adopted initiatives aimed towards preserving and further developing water resources--reducing the impact of a water footprint across all sectors and complying with an integrated system of management for water resources. These initiatives also include the creation of key legislation and reinforced coordination among concerned stakeholders, which also involves the move to develop the agriculture segment, in order to create a balance between water and food security. This involves key activities like expanding advanced irrigation systems use, less water use for agriculture and crops patterns, digging wells, expanding and managing local dams according to best practices and maintaining a strategic storage of fresh water, develop mandatory national specifications for water equipment and utilization of advanced technologies to decrease the consumption in the urban sector and apply economical techniques for water costing.
The Ministry remains highly confident that positive results from these endeavors will be felt in the next few years, which will bring us closer to the achievement of the set goals and objectives of UAE Vision 2021 and the country's sustainable development goals for 2030.
The UAE has adopted important steps as part of the country commitment of developing sustainable and innovative solutions, which includes the allocation of a part of aid to establish water and sewage projects in developing countries to ensure job opportunities in this sector; the launch of the UAE Water Aid Foundation, which recently launched the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award to encourage research and innovative solutions to address water shortage using solar energy; and the move to organize the World Water Summit during Abu Dhabi Sustainable Week--an event that saw the formation of a Global Alliance for Clean Water.
H.E. AlZeyoudi emphasized the importance of the campaign to discourage the excessive use of water in the UAE, which has become an alarming concern as recent reports have pegged a daily use of 360 liter per person, a figure that is more than the global rate of 200 liter per person. The Minister also stressed on the significance of taking responsibility and joining in the move to increase awareness via campaigns and related activities across the country. In closing, he quoted H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, who stated that water in the UAE today is more important than petrol--an accurate description of the real value of water in the country today.