Water and the United Arab Emirates

The Burj Khalifa Fountain

I live in a desert. But you would never think so. Driving along the Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, you will notice landscaped gardens with lush green grass and beautifully kept flowers. We even have the world’s highest fountain! But this belies the fact that the UAE is seriously short of water.

According to a study conducted by Emirates Industrial Bank in 2005, the UAE has one of the highest water consumption levels in the world.

The Khaleej Times reported that the UAE also has the highest per capita consumption of bottled water (265 litres per year).

The UAE’s Supply of Water

In the UAE, supply of water comes from two sources, wells (ground water) and desalinated water. But these sources have constraints. Desalinated water comes with a high price tag. In 2002, the production of water was 181 billion gallons at a cost of Dh 3426 million, according to statistics provided by the UAE Ministry of Water and Electricity.

Ground water depends on rainfall. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that we don’t get much rain in this country. In fact, I remember the last time it rained and that was back in February this year! Statistics say that the average rainfall is about 120 mm a year – that’s it! Except for some rare permanent wadis in the UAE mountains, there is no fresh water; no rivers, lakes or streams.

Environmentalists tell us that the UAE, must cut consumption by its 8.2 million people or risk depleting groundwater resources in 50 years.

The UAE desert

According to Heroes of the UAE, the UAE’s water table has dropped by one full metre per year since the 1980’s. To make matters worse, the quality of our underground water is starting to suffer as it increasingly comes into contact with pollutants.

The scary thing is that even if this was stopped today, it would take hundreds of years for the water table to rebalance itself.

If you want to know more about how our lifestyle is driven by water, check out the Virtual Water Calculator.


6 responses

  1. […] Water and the United Arab Emirates (soulfood101.wordpress.com) […]

  2. Interesting insight. I have visited GlobalVoices, and it is a good platform. If time permits, please do visit my blog http://www.clicksandwrites.blogspot.com and follow it too.
    Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi.

  3. […] Water and the United Arab Emirates (soulfood101.wordpress.com) 52.017000 4.333000 This entry was posted in Policies & legislation, United Arab Emirates, Water resources management, Water supply and tagged desalination, Federal National Council, United Arab Emirates, Water supply. Bookmark the permalink. ← Lebanon:Long delayed waste-water treatment plant finally opened […]

  4. Alarm on water supplies . . . . . .

    When water will be researched with isotops, your resources will be undrinkable in future.
    A better and cheaper methode, an unknown till yet true world novelty, you can find in the Internet under: http://www.hydromaps.de
    – write to :
    hydromaps@t-online.de – for further explanations

  5. Someone please contact me. I have an idea involving distilling ocean water on a large scale and I would like to share it with someone.

  6. […] Water and the United Arab Emirates (soulfood101.wordpress.com) […]

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