When it’s water, every drop counts - GulfToday

When it’s water, every drop counts

Water

The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Every form of life on earth depends on water for subsistence. Access to water underpins public health and is critical to sustainable development and a stable and prosperous world.

According to the United Nations, water-related challenges include the fact that 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services and 4.5 billion people lack safely managed sanitation services. Over 340,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases, while water scarcity affects four out of every 10 people.

Talking about water, one of the most important milestones has been the recognition in July 2010 by the United Nations General Assembly of the human right to water and sanitation.

The Assembly recognised the right of every human being to have access to sufficient water for personal and domestic uses (between 50 and 100 litres of water per person per day), which must be safe, acceptable and affordable; (water costs should not exceed 3 per cent of household income), and physically accessible (the water source has to be within 1,000 metres of the home and collection time should not exceed 30 minutes).

Unfortunately, there seems to be a long way to go before achieving this.

Leaders across the world need to roll up their sleeves and work together towards finding a sustainable solution to this serious challenge.

The UAE, fortunately, is pursuing an ambitious agenda towards sustainable water security. In September 2017, the Ministry of Energy & Industry unveiled the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036, which aims to ensure sustainable access to water during both normal and emergency conditions in line with local regulations, standards of the World Health Organisation, and the UAE’s vision to achieve prosperity and sustainability.

The overall objectives of the strategy are to reduce total demand for water resources by 21 per cent, increase the water productivity index to $110 per cubic meter, reduce the water scarcity index by three degrees, increase the reuse of treated water to 95 per cent and increase national water storage capacity up to two days.

Conservation efforts are initiated at various levels. For example, water consumption in 42 buildings of the University of Sharjah, dropped by more than 75 per cent recently after Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, SEWA, installed 1,020 tools of rationalisation and water organisers.

The university seeks to be a role model in spreading the culture of rationalisation among students, highlighting the importance of raising the awareness of all segments of society about the importance of reducing the use of electricity and water, as part of the SEWA’s plan to rationalise consumption by 30 per cent.

Masdar City is another outstanding example of an innovative project that places water efficiency at its core. Buildings in the City are designed to consume 54 per cent less water than average buildings do in the UAE.

In addition, 75 per cent of the hot water requirement is provided through thermal receptors fixed on rooftops. The use of water for irrigation, likewise, has been reduced by 60 per cent through leveraging an efficient sprinkler system and innovative landscaping methods.

Water issues call for global solidarity and joint measures. All members of the society should take measures to conserve the precious liquid. Governments and relevant organisations should coordinate to provide sustainable solutions to use water more efficiently. Ensuring water security for GenNext is a paramount duty of the present generation.