The demand for water in the UAE is estimated at 4.2 billion cubic metres per year. Since the UAE is located in the desert, it has a very small amount of underground water. Because of that, the country has to rely on other water resources like desalinated seawater.
Ministry of Climate Change and Environment has developed the National Strategy for Preservation of Water Resources to adopt policies for rationalisation of water use.
The UAE's National Innovation Strategy puts water as one of its key seven pillars. As part of the strategy, the UAE aims to be as a global leader in rain enhancement science and technology and build up the UAE's credentials as an international scientific leader and an innovation powerhouse.
The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science was initiated. It aims to advance the scientific and technological base of rain enhancement, where technology is used to stimulate and increase rainfall.
Since its inception with a total of USD 5 million in annual grant, the programme has attracted interest from researchers around the world, year after year.
Suqia - UAE Water Aid is a non-profit organisation established to support international efforts to provide potable clean water to people in need around the world and to contribute to finding permanent, sustainable and innovative solutions to water scarcity.
To match with the steep rise in sewage generation as a direct effect of increase in the UAE's population, the government is investing in upgrading and extending sewer systems to ensure a sustainable sewage disposal and treatment system. Some of these projects are mentioned below by emirate.
In 2009, Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company (ADSCC) launched an AED 5.7 billion (USD 1.6 billion) Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Programme (STEP), which includes building 41 km of deep sewer tunnels.
In 2014, an ambitious environmental plan was revealed to treat and re-use all of the emirate's wastewater to irrigate farms and parks within four years.
Dubai is planning to get a new deep tunnel sewerage system costing AED 12.5 billion in the next five years, to replace more than 121 sewerage pumping stations. The new deep tunnel system makes use of gravity for the collection of sewage.
In addition, a project to expand the Jebel Ali sewerage plant has been approved and will cost AED 1.3 billion. When it is completed, it will serve 1.35 million people and will bring the plant's capacity to 675,000 cubic metres daily, which is double its current capacity.
Sharjah has a sewerage treatment plant in the Al Sajaa area. It was constructed at a cost of AED 227 million. The treated water will be used to irrigate plants and green spaces in the city of Sharjah. The plant will undergo ecpansion in order to increase its capacity of treating waste from 30,000 cubic metres to 50,000 cubic metres daily.
Ajman had its first sewerage treatment network in 2009, which was built by Ajman Sewage Company, one of the first sewage projects' PPPs in the region.
For further reading:
Read more about the sustainable development goal ‘Clear water and sanitation’.