Integrated Water Resources Management Plan for the UAE

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Increased human populations, rapid economic developments, and climate change have driven many countries in the Middle East to suffer acute water shortages. Additionally, they have caused a decline in the supply and quality of water and led to an increase in the cost of its production. In the last three decades, the United Arab Emirates has experienced rapid urbanization due to steady economic growth. Expansion of the economy is accompanied by a sharp rise in population, which has put pressure on its water resources. At present, the government has put in place strategies to reduce the population pressure on its scarce water sources by developing a system for managing the supply and demand sides for its resources. This research study aims at examining the current water management approach and challenges through qualitative and quantitative analysis. This paper draws attention to the need for the UAE to accelerate the integration of technology in production and supply, building public awareness, improving legislative framework on green building code, and collecting non-revenue water among others. This recommendation stems from a review of several publications on water management, which show that the future of water sustainability in arid regions lies in addressing demand-side problems and not supply-side challenges. It also is based on a survey that was conducted among professionals that work within the water and wastewater sector. More specifically, key tenets of this paper highlight the need for authorities to consider adopting smart water management principles that would see them operate more efficiently and create a greater and more positive impact on the country.
integrated water resources, climate change, water shortages, United Arab Emirates (UAE)