Abu Dhabi sets ambitious goal to use only recycled water by 2020

Posted 14 November 2017

Abu Dhabi
With populations skyrocketing and groundwater sources running dry, Abu Dhabi’s government has pledged to use recycled water and reuse all wastewater sources by 2020. 

According to the Environment Report 2017 released by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD), it currently reuses only 5% of its treated wastewater, while the United Arab Emirates uses 60% groundwater and 35% desalinated water. 

EAD Water Resources Advisor Dr Mohammad Dawoud told Gulf News the aim is to start recycling wastewater and applying it for irrigation. 

“Our target is to recycle all of the discarded water of the emirate and re-use it for irrigation purposes as 60% of our irrigation water comes from water wells,” Dawoud said.

“Over the past decade, the Emirates’ overall groundwater level has continuously declined, particularly in the eastern region. The sustainability of the Emirates’ precious groundwater resources is one of the greatest sustainability challenges that the UAE [United Arab Emirates] faces,” the report states.

Dawoud said that of the 115,000 water wells within the UAE, 80% are being utilised and 20% have dried up.

“We are rejuvenating the dried wells using the latest technologies. Our future plan is to increase the re-use of treated wastewater,” he said.  

“More than 360,000 cubic metres of treated wastewater will be recycled and reused to replace the use of ground and desalinated water.”

Dawoud said more than 460,000 cubic metres of wastewater are generated annually in the UAE, which increases by about 10% each year due to population increases. 

“The government has put in plans to recycle and reuse all waste water by 2020 and we aim not to lose a drop of waste water,” he said. 
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