Over 84% of Nationals Admit Water is Wasted in the UAE, Says Study

  • 1 April 2013

The rate of water consumption in the UAE is among the highest in the world. This is alarming considering the scarcity of natural water in the region and the growing need for this vital resource. Water constitutes the wealth of the nation and it is the duty of the present generation to prevent its misuse so that it is preserved for future generations. This can only be done through rationalization of water consumption, according to a to the results of a poll conducted by the Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR).

The poll assesses the level of community awareness on the importance of rational use of water among citizens. The idea was to define the parameters of this issue and understand the degree of community awareness so that necessary recommendations could be made and development plans formulated to ensure conservation of the country's water resources and prevent its wastage and depletion.

The opinion poll was a sample survey of 1,000 UAE nationals across the country. There was 91.6 percent response with a margin of error less than 5.3 percent and the degree of accuracy in the result at 95 percent. The main objective of the survey was to identify the proportion of those who accept that there is wastage of water in the UAE and to identify the extent of means employed by citizens for water conservation. The poll helped identify the level of effectiveness of the ways followed in the country to raise awareness about rational use of water.

As per the opinion poll results, a large number of citizens agree that water resources are wasted in the country with as many as 84.5 percent respondents accepting the same. Interestingly, the ratio of females (86.4 percent) was larger than males (82.5 percent). It was also clear that the higher the academic qualification, the greater was the acknowledgment over wastage water.

88.9 percent of graduates accepted that water was being wasted while the acceptance among those with less than secondary school education stood at 67.9 percent. Abu Dhabi region topped the list among respondents in residential areas (with 93.8 percent) admitting to wastage of water, while the Emirate of Umm Al-Quwain stood at the bottom of the list at 57.9 percent.

The results also showed that the proportion of respondents conserving water while washing cars was at 31.8 percent, while 22.1 percent say they use rationalization techniques while using swimming pools at home. The percentage of citizens who use modern technology and devices for saving water reached 24.1 percent.

The level of satisfaction on the methods used by the country in raising awareness on water rationalization was the highest in Umm Al Quwain (43.9 percent) and lowest in Ajman (14.1 percent). The level of satisfaction was higher in women (21.9 percent) compared to men (16.9 percent). Over 22.2 percent of citizens in the age group 'Less than 21' expressed complete satisfaction with the ways used in raising awareness of the rationalization of water consumption, while 11 percent of those aged between 31-40 said they were not totally satisfied with it.

Level of satisfaction also varied depending on the level of education with the lowest percentage of complete satisfaction being registered by degree holders (16.7 percent) and the highest level (24.3 percent) being achieved by those in the secondary education category. On the other hand, the highest percentage of dissatisfaction (16.7 percent) was among graduates and least (6 percent) was among those with secondary education.

The study has made a number of important recommendations that could help create greater awareness on rationalization of water consumption and in reducing its wastage. The most notable recommendations are as follows: There is a need to create awareness through the media on the responsibility of water rationalization. There is also a need to intensify information campaigns among students in schools and universities in this regard.

Distributing brochures with instructions on water rationing in Arabic, English and other languages to residents, ministries, institutions, government bodies, ports and airports, and public and private schools. An intensive campaign to promote modern techniques of saving water is also the need of the hour. Promoting social responsibility through employers, ministries, institutions and government bodies on preserving water resources by launching water conservation campaigns.

Water-saving techniques and installation of devices to prevent wastage of water should be made obligatory for private institutions, government bodies, shopping centers and homes. Fines should be imposed on violators and licenses of commercial establishments (such as commercial buildings, hotels, shopping malls, etc.) should not be renewed in cases of gross violation.

Holding exhibitions of products meant to rationalize water and electricity consumption. Formulating a pricing mechanism for water use through which tariff could be doubled per unit if the average rate of consumption is exceeded.