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Abu Dhabi to install water-saving devices into every tap in the emirate
(22 May 2010)


The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) is embarking on the Watersavers Campaign, the most ambitious water-saving campaign in the Middle East, and possibly even in the world. On May 27, 2010, EAD will kick-off a ground-breaking campaign to install tiny devices into every tap in every home, school, mosque, government and commercial building in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

On that date, EAD will start its individual outreach to 55,000 households in the Tourist Club Area, the most densely-populated area in Abu Dhabi city, with plans to install an average of five to six water-saving devices per household over the next 12 months.

Currently, residents in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi account for an average domestic consumption rate of 550 litres of water per person per day through daily activities such as showering, bathing, using toilet facilities and household appliances, washing cars and watering gardens. This rate is one of the highest in the world and is almost three times as high as the United Nations benchmark rate of 180 litres per person per day.

The tiny devices, which comprise of an O-ring and mesh gauze, will be installed by a team of accredited water installers who will visit residential buildings in the TCA during the evenings starting from May 27 for the next 12 months.

Importantly, there is no cost to building tenants or owners; EAD will be installing the devices. Tenants will be informed of the campaign via house-to-house marketing and an intensive local advertising drive in the district, directing the public towards a dedicated website at and a call centre, where informed multilingual staff will be able to answer individual questions from callers. This will help ensure that residents are fully aware of the urgent need to have these devices installed in their homes.

Dr. Mohamed Dawoud, Manager, Water Resources Department at EAD, comments, "Taps account for around 60% of household water consumption, yet they are one of the easiest starting points where we can reduce domestic water usage. These tiny water-saving devices will be installed easily, cleanly and quickly into taps to reduce water consumption by mixing air with the water, reducing the flow by up to half. People will not notice much of a difference, if any." Dr Dawoud continues, "The benefits of these devices are two-fold. Firstly, we estimate as much as 550 litres could be saved per day per household, amounting to 75 billion litres per year across the Emirate, or as much as 30,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. Secondly, the tenants will also notice a positive reduction in their water bills. We have calculated that each household may see its average water bill drop by as much as Dhs100 per month. So the Watersavers Campaign truly presents a win-win for Abu Dhabi’s residents and the environment. All we are asking people to do is to let the water installers in when they visit their homes." Experts fear that Abu Dhabi could face water shortages as soon as 2012 because of projected population growth. Moreover, high levels of water consumption are a major contributing factor in the UAE’s Ecological Footprint, which is estimated to be the highest in the world. 100% of Abu Dhabi’s piped drinking water originates from the Arabian Gulf and is then desalinated in processing plants located along the coastline. However, the process is highly energy-intensive, releasing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants into the atmosphere, contributing to the UAE’s carbon footprint and accelerating global warming. In the near-shore areas of the Arabian Gulf very high withdrawals of water for local desalination purposes are threatening local biodiversity of the marine environment and are contributing to raising sea temperatures, currently among the highest in the world. Add to this the huge construction costs involved in building the number of desalination plants required to cater to the forecast population and it is clear that increased desalination processing is not a viable solution to the community’s future water demands.

Following the pilot study, where water-saving devices were installed into a number of schools, mosques, hotels, labour camps and government buildings in the Emirate, EAD received overwhelmingly positive feedback from Imams, school administrators and tenants.

Combining direct action, ambitious targets and broad public awareness-building, this makes the Watersavers Campaign the first 360? water-saving campaign of its kind in the Middle East and possibly one of the first of its scale in the world.

Majid Al Mansouri, Secretary General of EAD, adds, "Through ’Watersavers’ and other initiatives, the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi is delivering positive, practical solutions to the critical challenges that our Emirate faces. EAD’s remit is to help preserve our natural heritage and protect our future but each one of us must take personal responsibility in ’doing our bit’ to support. Thanks to the ’Watersavers’ campaign, reducing domestic water consumption couldn’t be easier and the outcome will not only benefit us of us who call Abu Dhabi home today, but our children and our children’s children." The Watersavers Campaign is supported by the Ministry of Environment and Water, the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA), the Abu Dhabi and Al Ain Distribution Companies respectively and the Emirates Wildlife Society-World Wide Fund for Nature (EWS-WWF).

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