‘Water security is national security issue for UAE’ hears Water ‎Business Forum at Expo 2020 Dubai ‎

The event was held at the Dubai Exhibition Centre during Water Week
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The issue of water security is a national security issue for the UAE, forming part of the country’s ongoing innovation and entrepreneurship efforts, the head of DEWA – the Official Sustainable Energy Partner of Expo 2020 Dubai – told the Water Business Forum on Tuesday (22 March).

The event was held at Dubai Exhibition Centre on the third day of Water Week (20-26 March) – the final of Expo 2020 Dubai’s 10 Theme Weeks, under the Programme for People and Planet – and coincided with World Water Day.

During his keynote remarks, His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO, DEWA, said: “Water security affects 40 per cent of the world’s population. [It] is a national security issue for the UAE and is one of the seven strategic sectors of the National Innovation Strategy.

In line with the [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)], to ensure access to water for all, the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036 aims to ensure sustainable access to water during normal and emergency conditions, as well as address future water security challenges in the long run.”

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Of the 17 SDGs – a global blueprint to build a safe, clean and healthy future for people and planet by 2030 – SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation goes beyond drinking water, sanitation and hygiene to also address the quality and sustainability of water resources.

During a dedicated conversation on the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036, His Excellency Suhail Muhammad Faraj Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said: “People don’t know that in the UAE, we’re consuming more from the ground than we are consuming from all of the desalination plants in the country.”

The overall objectives of the strategy, unveiled in September 2017, are to reduce total demand for water resources by 21 per cent; increase the water productivity index to USD 110 per cubic metre; reduce the water scarcity index; increase the reuse of treated water to 95 per cent; and increase national water storage capacity up to two days.

HE Al Mazrouei added: “When you understand how much rainfall we get, then it’s a no brainer that we are depleting our aquifers – and that has to stop. So we had to think back then: ‘How can we provide affordable desalinated water for the farmers to stop taking the underground water?’ And no one had done that – that was very challenging. If you ask anyone, from a cost point of view, that’s very challenging.”

Highlighting business opportunities and cutting-edge tech relevant to the water sector, the forum is a co-curation between Expo 2020 Dubai, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Estonia.

Text, photos and video: Expo Dubai 2020.