Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man. - Stewart Udall
One of the most critical issues facing the quality of human life is water scarcity- either caused by poor management of freshwater, or by increased demand for it. All over the world, issues of water supply can range from shortages in times of crisis, rapid population growth to pollution or contamination of water sources.
Water consumption in the UAE was recognized as the highest in the world by a recent UN Global Environmental Outlook report, with 550 liters being used daily per capita. This is approximately 82% higher than the global average.
A study conducted by the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (FEWA) to measure environmental awareness had discovered that UAE residents ranked water as being of little concern.
The Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi (EAD) suggested last year that if no changes are made, groundwater reserves across the Emirates could be used up within 50 years.
Many reasons have been given for the high consumption of water resources in the UAE, such as the rapid population increase concurrent with the whirlwind economic growth. While the UAE now ranks amongst the wealthiest nations, they face a key issue in physical lack of freshwater supply- with much of the nations water supply being desalinated. The very low levels of precipitation mean that groundwater is not regularly restored.
Aside from the challenge of finding the water, and the growing population, there is also little awareness about prudent water use in the home. FEWA have recently begun to implement the Water Master Plan, which will address the measures needed to decrease the national average consumption to 350 liters per day in the next 5 years.
While more procedures are being put in place to increase awareness about good environmental practices, it is also important that individuals and households carefully consider their own impact. There are many resources that exist to give tips and ideas on how to save water and energy, but starting with very small things can have a big impact on your consumption (and your bills!).
In the home
So many resources exist with helpful advice so that conscious citizens can do everything in their power to give respect to the precious gift that is clean water, free of disease. So many around the world struggle to find what we throw down the drain when we wash dishes, or let our showers run whilst we wash our hair.
Educate yourselves, your children and your friends on the small things we can all do to collectively create a big impact.
EWS- WWF is a good place to start with their Water Heroes of the UAE program; they have lots of tips, resources and tools to save water.