Water scarcity in the Gulf reason is a serious and growing problem, according to the United Arab Emirates National Emergency and Crisis Mangement Authority.
As demand increases, said Director General Mohammed Khalfan al-Rumaithi, the UAE may need to make harsh choices between using water for direct human consumption vs. agricultural irrigation.
“Wars can erupt because of water,” he warned. “Using groundwater for agriculture is risky. If it doesn’t harm us, it will harm other generations.”
The UAE is one of the highest per capita water consumers in the world. Abu Dhabi on average uses 550 liters of water per person per day, compared with the global average of 180-200 liters. Freshwater reserves in the UAE are expected to dwindle within the next five decades, leaving the Emirate dependent on groundwater extraction and desalination.
The UAE, along with many neighboring Middle Eastern nations, is investing in farmland on other continents such as Africa, both as a means to secure future food supplies as well as reduce domestic water usage.
“We suffer from a shortage of water and we should think about solutions to preserve it rather than using it for agriculture,” Mr. Rumaithi told the Federal National Council during a discussion of food and water security.
Last October, Abu Dhabi laid the groundwork for the world’s largest underground reservoir, which would hold 26 million cubic feet of desalinated water, enough to meet rationed demand for 90 days in the case of an emergency. Read more…