Water security a global issue as 2 billion worldwide lack access to clean water

DEWA will expand its desalination output. (Shutterstock/File)
Updated 11 February 2019

Water security a global issue as 2 billion worldwide lack access to clean water

  • About 800,000 water meters across the Dubai are set to be replaced with smart water meters by the end of 2019
  • Currently there are two billion people around the world who lack access to safe, clean, drinking water

DUBAI: Water security is a global issue that all countries must get ahead of, Dubai’s Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) chief executive Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer warned on Monday, as he laid out Dubai’s 2036 plan for tackling the challenge.

Currently there are two billion people around the world who lack access to safe, clean, drinking water, while a shortfall of 40 percent is forecasted between water supply and it’s demand in 2030, the CEO said.

“We seek to make Dubai a global model for clean energy and green economy by adopting the technologies of the fourth Industrial Revolution and disruptive technologies including artificial intelligence, unmanned aerial vehicles, energy storage, and blockchain,” Al-Tayer said at the opening session of the second day of the World Government Summit in Dubai.

“The UAE has a holistic vision of water security and water management, utilizing the latest innovative solutions to reduce water consumption,” he added.

Al-Tayer laid out initial framework for the strategy and DEWA’s achievements in making use of every drop of water in the Dubai, with specific forecasts and points for the emirate that will begin witnessing change as early as end of 2019.

“In Dubai we adopt three pillars to ensure the sustainability of water production - these are based on using clean solar energy to desalinate seawater using the latest reverse osmosis technologies,” Al-Tayer said, adding that “excess water is stored in aquifers and pumped back into the water network when needed.”

About 800,000 water meters across the Dubai are set to be replaced with smart water meters by the end of 2019, as the emirate “strives to provide infrastructure through sophisticated systems to transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world.”

“In 1992, the installed capacity was 65 million gallons of water per day. Today, in order to keep pace with the growing demand and prosperity of the emirate, DEWA's installed capacity is 470 million imperial gallons per day (MIGD),” Al-Tayer said, while also pointing out that groundwater consumption for drinking water purposes dropped from 100 percent in 1990 to 0.4 percent in 2019.

In addition to water security, DEWA’s CEO spoke of Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Green Dubai strategy, which aims to reduce 43 billion ton of carbon emission by 2030, saving over $3.5 billion in the process.

DEWA’s plan would raise the level of efficiency and effectiveness, achieve economic saving and finally integrate electricity generated from solar power, as the authority works “to become the world's first digital organization with renewable energy control systems.”


EU split over budget as Germans push for curbs

Updated 17 September 2019

EU split over budget as Germans push for curbs

  • Divisions over the next 2021-2027 financial framework run deeper than usual

BERLIN: The EU may need to scale back its plans to boost growth and counter climate change if it fails to quickly agree on a long-term budget, European officials said on Monday, as Germany and other northern states push to restrict spending.

The EU administration is funded with a seven-year budget. The size and targets are often subject to prolonged haggling among its member states.

But divisions over the next 2021-2027 financial framework run deeper than usual at a time when the bloc faces risks of a new economic recession and uncertainty over the outcome of the Brexit process — which is expected to lead Britain, one of the largest contributors to the EU coffers, out of the union.

“My big concern is that Europe will be in a difficult economic and geopolitical situation if there is no budget by the first of January,” the EU commissioner in charge of the talks, Guenther Oettinger, told an EU ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

He said the urgency to strike a deal was heightened by the bloc’s weakening economy, with Germany and other EU states stagnating. He said it would take years to find a compromise at the current pace of negotiation.

The long-term financial framework needs to be adopted well in advance of its starting date because it has to be translated into yearly spending programs which also usually require long negotiations.

The EU’s executive commission proposed last year a seven-year budget of roughly €1.1 trillion ($1.22 trillion) which would represent 1.11 percent of the bloc’s Gross National Income (GNI), a measure of domestic output. The estimate does not include funding from Britain, which is planning to leave the EU at the end of October.

But Germany, the EU’s largest economy and the main contributor to the budget, has made it known that it wants to limit spending to 1 percent of economic output, according to a document seen by Reuters. Sweden and the Netherlands openly support Berlin’s more cautious spending plans.

The budget for the current seven-year period also amounts to 1 percent of GNI, but Brussels said it has to go up because of planned higher spending on research, digital economy, border control and defense.

Berlin said the proposed cap would represent a net increase in spending by EU states, as the bloc would have to do without contributions from Britain. It also urged more spending to counter climate change.

The European Parliament, backed by southern and eastern European states who are net receivers of EU funds, wants a bigger budget, set at 1.3 percent of the bloc’s GNI.

Lawmakers also urged further funding for new projects on climate change and for unemployment benefits as mentioned by the commission’s president-designate Ursula von der Leynen in her inaugural speech after appointment in July. Spain’s state secretary for EU affairs, Marco Aguiriano Nalda, said differences between the proposals made it almost impossible to find a compromise before the end of the year.

“I have to express strong worries and reservations on the state of play of the financial framework,” he told his counterparts at a televised session of the ministerial meeting.

Poland’s State Secretary for European Affairs, Konrad Szymanski, told the same meeting that reduced spending caps would inevitably translate into lower ambitions.

A compromise is made more difficult also by plans to make EU funding conditional on upholding the bloc’s values, including the rule of law. Germany called for this “conditionality” in its confidential document reviewed by Reuters.