Driving sustainability: Dubai's water management strategy to help save $3.9bln

Emirate sets global benchmarks with integrated water resource management

  
The storage capacity of water in Dubai increased from 38 million gallons in 1992 to 815 million gallons today, which is an increase of 20.44 percent. DEWA will increase the storage capacity to 1,002 million gallons this year. Image Courtesy: WAM

The storage capacity of water in Dubai increased from 38 million gallons in 1992 to 815 million gallons today, which is an increase of 20.44 percent. DEWA will increase the storage capacity to 1,002 million gallons this year. Image Courtesy: WAM

Dubai’s integrated water resource management strategy will save the emirate up to 14.35 billion UAE dirhams ($3.9 billion) on the water consumption and production fronts, according to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA).

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) said that the utility’s conservation programmes and initiatives as part of Demand Side Management (DSM) programme achieved cumulative savings of 2.44 terawatt hours of electricity and 6.7 billion gallons of water between 2011 and 2020.

“This is equivalent to saving 1.35 billion UAE dirhams ($367.5 million) and reducing 1.22 million tonnes of carbon emissions,” he said.

He also noted that the emirate has reduced the use of groundwater for drinking purposes to just 0.4 percent under DSM.

Dubai’s Integrated Water Resource Management Strategy focuses on enhancing water resources, rationalising water consumption by using cutting-edge technologies and innovative solutions.  

Increase the share of energy-efficient Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology [which uses electricity] for desalination, [while reducing reliance on thermal technology, which uses heat] will save DEWA around 13 billion dirhams ($3.5 billion) and reduce 44 million tonnes of carbon emissions, said Al Tayer.

He said by 2030, Dubai will produce desalinated water by a mix of renewable energy and waste heat, which will allow the emirate to exceed global targets for using clean energy to desalinate water.

The utility is also working on an aquifer storage and recovery project to store excess water in aquifers and pump that back into the water network when needed.

“Currently, DEWA is implementing a project to store 6 billion gallons of water in aquifers that can be retrieved when needed. This will provide the Emirate with a strategic reserve of over 50 million gallons of desalinated water per day in emergencies for 90 days, while ensuring the quality of the stored water remains unaffected by external factors,” said the DEWA chief.

DEWA’s efforts in R&D use the latest global technologies has reduced losses in its water transmission and distribution networks from over 42 percent in 1988 to 5.1 percent, one of the lowest in the world.

In terms of community outreach, Al Tayer said DEWA organises the Conservation Award in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority to raise public awareness about environmental and sustainability issues, and the importance of the rational use of natural resources.

(Writing by Anoop Menon; Editing by Seban Scaria)

(anoop.menon@refinitiv.com)

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© ZAWYA 2021


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