Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said that protecting water resources, in line with demographic growth, is a significant challenge that requires international cooperation, noting that water scarcity is one of the main issues facing the Arab region.
In a statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), during the launch of four pioneering national initiatives to ensure the sustainability of water resources, Al Mazrouei said, "The UAE Government strongly believes that water security is a basic requirement for the continuity of sustainable development. Therefore, the country has launched the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036 aimed at ensuring the sustainability and ease of access to water resources, amidst ordinary and extraordinary conditions."
"The UAE is facing a serious challenge due to the scarcity of natural water resources, because it is located in a dry region that suffers from scare natural water sources caused by the lack of rain, high temperatures and the lack of a permanent water source, in addition to the high consumption of water due to population growth and economic and agricultural development," he added.
He made this statement on the sidelines of the ministry’s participation in World Water Week hosted by the UAE at Expo 2020 Dubai, which will discuss related issues, such as digital system for water management in infrastructure assets, an integrated management initiative of dams and water facilities, the country’s hydrogeological map and the "Water Future Hackathon."
The event is being attended by representatives of federal and local authorities, as part of the ministry’s efforts to achieve the goals of the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036.
The hydrogeological map project The Minister has launched phase one of its hydrogeological map project, which aims to create an accurate spatial database and a series of digital maps of groundwater reservoirs and surface water basins. The outcomes of the project will be used to draft policies for utilising and preserving ground and surface water resources, studying dams and water facilities, and determining groundwater capabilities, levels and quality, which will offer data on the indicators of the sixth sustainable development goal related to water resources, one of the initiatives of the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036.
Integrated Management of Dams and Water Facilities Al Mazrouei also launched the Integrated Management of Dams and Water Facilities, which is a smart application that generates alerts related to dam flooding. It is one of the smart systems developed by the ministry to monitor the effects of floods on valleys and dams in real-time, classify the most dangerous areas during times of rain and notify the public in a timely manner, which will strengthen the social responsibility of individuals towards dam and water facilities.
The application is a set of smart and advanced monitoring systems, used for the first time in the Middle East, that employs artificial intelligence to determine surface water flows during torrential rains and floods, and monitor their speed and height and the volume of water flowing through dammed valleys, and the impact on groundwater using water sensors located at dammed lakes.
The UAE has a total of 150 dams and water facilities, with 103 being managed by the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, with a total storage capacity of 103 million cubic metres.
Digital System for Water Management in Infrastructure Assets Al Mazrouei announced the launch of an initiative, titled, "Digital System for Water Management in Infrastructure Assets," which will employ the latest smart technologies to improve the efficiency of resources management in federal buildings. The initiative also raises the public’s awareness of the importance of rationalising electricity and water consumption.
Water Future Hackathon in Infrastructure Assets Al Mazrouei also launched a hackathon that will help solve water resource management challenges facing the management of infrastructure assets and identify the latest modern technologies and best practices in the field of water management assets. These solutions will ensure the sustainability of related assets and raise efficiency, to increase the country's competitiveness in the field of environmental and economic sustainability.