UAE is Water Pioneer Despite Arid Climate, Conference Hears

  • 14 October 2014

Experts at the annual conference on Climate Change and the Future of Water spoke on Tuesday about the UAE’s pioneering efforts on water conservation.

Dr Rashid bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, said in his opening address to the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research that water consumption is outpacing supply.

“Water resources worldwide have witnessed a huge depletion in the past decade from increased consumption driven by economic growth and agricultural use to feed the world’s demand,” Dr bin Fahad said.

Water consumption is set to increase further in the coming decades due to increasing population and climate change.

In dealing with this pressure, he said, the UAE has a multi-pronged approach that relies on managing resources and raising awareness when it comes to water management.

“Through collaboration, we hope to use this conference as a trigger for what has already started in the climate summit in New York, to come up with better solutions to adapting to the increasing pressure of climate change on water resources,” Dr bin Fahad said.

In collaboration with the University of Maine, the conference will feature speakers from academia, government and field experts on panels.

Dr Paul Mayewski, director of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, said that water scarcity has led to critical policy changes for societies, with projections showing Earth will continue to suffer drought well into the middle of the 21st century.

“Examination of climate records extending back thousands of years demonstrates that devastating droughts can occur abruptly and last decades to centuries, meaning that forecasts based solely on the linear progression of climate over the last century do not provide the only analogue for prediction,” Dr Mayewski said.

He said to adapt to the ever-increasing demand on water, organisations and governments must understand and anticipate drought conditions and then plan accordingly.