Challenges and Motivators associated with treated wastewater reuse in the United Arab Emirates

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Fresh water resources are very limited in the United Arab Emirates, due to natural factors such as non-availability of fresh surface water streams, rare rainfall and climate change in addition to human related factors including extreme withdrawal of groundwater, high consumption rate and economic and industrial development. During the past decades, UAE suffered from depletion of freshwater resources, increase in groundwater salt content and deterioration in ground water quality. As a result, the conversion towards nonconventional water resources was necessary, where UAE mainly depends on desalination. Wastewater is considered a valuable non-conventional source of interest in the United Arab Emirates. The aim of this paper is to identify the most important challenges and motivators associated with treated wastewater reuse in the context of UAE. The study also aims to categorize the identified factors into cause and effect group, the understanding of relation among set of factors in important for better solution approach, such the focus on because group will improve both causes and effects factors. The Methodology followed to analyze the data is DEMATEL method. Where literature review was first done to identify the list of challenges and motivators of treated wastewater reuse. The identified factors were presented to experts in wastewater management in UAE for their evaluation. The evaluations were arranged in a matrix and the DEMATEL analysis finding was as follows: For challenges: The limited commercial development of reclaimed water was found to be the most important factor and Citizen’s reluctance to pay for wastewater systems is the least important challenge. For motivators: Political dimension and leadership support was found to be the most important driver of wastewater reuse in UAE, and considering treated wastewater as Precautionary measure during emergency cases is the least important factor among motivators. The recommendations focused on the top five factors of each group and the five most important factors in the cause category. The identification and grouping of these challenges and motivators is expected to add valuable information to literature relative to the subject of the study.