When every drop counts: The danger of water scarcity in the Middle East

Water is a basic human necessity. Yet, it is one of our scarcest resources, particularly here in the Middle East. Never has the value of this precious commodity been as apparent as in the UAE’s scorching summer heat, reinforced by the timely arrival of the Holy Month of Ramadan.

With the vast majority of the region’s population forgoing water from dawn till dusk during what is said to be one of the longest and hottest summers we have experienced, this was undoubtedly a sentiment that resonated amongst the community. The saying rings true, you really don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

Worryingly, we are well on our way to this becoming a more permanent reality. With water scarcity in the region predicted to reach alarming levels in the next ten years, the onus is on each of us as individuals to contribute where we can to finding new and innovative solutions for conservation.

Sustainable architecture and interior design has gained significant regional traction in recent years, especially in the UAE, leading to the formation of organisations such as Estidama, the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group and the Emirates Green Building Council.

Somewhat unsurprising, given that sustainability has been identified as one of the key themes of the widely anticipated Expo 2020, with Dubai aiming to become one of the top ten sustainable cities in the world by the time the big event is set to take place.

In addition, reputable organisations are doing their part to demonstrate tangible solutions for water conservation in the region.

One example of this is the World Wildlife Foundation’s ‘Heroes of the UAE’ campaign that encourages water saving in everyday situations. Another is the establishment of Fujairah Wadi Wurayah National Park in 2009, the region’s first water research centre where volunteers are able to take part in environmental and conservation activities.

Whether on a governmental level, with the introduction of water conservation laws, or through the initiatives of private companies, one thing remains certain – it is essential that an element of sustainability is at the forefront of all agendas. And while we have come leaps and bounds in this regard, statistics show that there is still a long way to go.