Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said the value of investments in new desalination plants in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Umm Al Qaiwain amounted to AED7.63 billion (US$2.08 billion), in line with the directives of the UAE’s leadership to achieve water security.
In an interview with the Emirates News Agency (WAM), on the sidelines of the World Utilities Congress 2022, Al Mazrouei said the annual growth rate of the water desalination sector is at three percent. The UAE, due to the directives of its leadership, has launched several national strategic projects in the water desalination sector, which will help achieve water security by providing water supplies and ensuring their national sustainability, he added.
Al Mazrouei stressed that the UAE has prioritised the sixth sustainable development goal to ensure water sustainability and provide access to water amidst natural conditions and emergencies, affirming that water security is a cornerstone of sustainable development.
The UAE has carried out several significant projects in the water sector and deployed advanced technologies, he further added.
On the models followed by the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure to enhance the resilience of the water and energy sector, Al Mazrouei said that the ministry, in cooperation with its partners in the energy and water sectors, has implemented the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036 and the National Water and Energy Demand Management Programme, which follow approved policies that include the development of the supply and demand sectors, as well as projects for improving the flexibility of the water sector to respond to emergencies, such as those aimed at linking the access of agencies to the water network and increasing the use of renewable energy in water production.
Providing electricity at reasonable prices is among the factors that will ensure the economy’s success and the community’s safety, therefore, the ministry has drafted the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 to create an energy combination that includes gas, nuclear power, solar power and wind power, he said.
The ministry has modelled, simulated and evaluated electrical power systems, in cooperation with national electricity and water service providers, to raise the flexibility of the national electricity systems and prepare for any risks that could affect the electricity sector and related vital infrastructure, he further added.
On the ministry’s plans to meet the growing national demand for water and energy, Al Mazrouei explained that the ministry’s plans include upgrading the water supply sector and completing new desalination plants using reverse osmosis technology, in addition to raising the production capacities of some existing desalination plants, in addition to efficiently recycling water.
The rate of use of treated wastewater must be 95 percent, according to indicators of the approved water security strategy, while demand management and rationalisation programmes will also contribute to reducing total water consumption rates by some 21 percent until 2036, he added.
Al Mazrouei then pointed out that the UAE is currently promoting the use of the latest advanced membrane desalination technologies and renewable energy in desalination processes, in addition to artificial intelligence, data and modelling applications in water management.
The UAE Water Security Strategy 2036 aims to ensure financial and environmental sustainability for the water sector instead of continuing the current situation, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions of desalination plants by the equivalent of 100 million tonnes, Al Mazrouei said in conclusion.