Water and Food Safety in the UAE
With the theme for this year's International World Water Day being 'Water and Food Safety', ICBA scientists were well-placed to contribute their expertise to the program organised by Dubai Municipality (DM). The month-long series of activities commenced on March 22, World Water Day, and concluded with a seminar on municipality water safety on Wednesday 18 April at Dubai Le Meridien Hotel.Dr Khalil Ammar, Water Resources Management scientist with ICBA, explained to the seminar audience the role of ICBA in conserving water resources in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in particular and the region in general.ICBA consultants have been encouraging an integrated water resource management (IWRM) approach. With an IWRM approach, the water gap between supply and demand can be bridged through demand management, instead of the current approach which relies mainly upon increasing the supply. If the UAE was able to rationalize the per capita water consumption to be within the international levels of 200 liter per capita per day rather than the current consumption of 370 liters per capita per day, then the country would be able to delay by up to 14 years the expensive investment needed for desalinated water, the main water resource in the UAE. Dr Ammar also outlined the use of innovative technologies such as sensor technology and sub-drip irrigation that can reduce water use in agriculture and emphasized the important role of marginal water, particularly brackish/saline water, in supplementing freshwater and reducing the demand for limited groundwater resources.Inaugurated by Eng. Hamdan Khalifa Al Shaer, head of the Environment Department, DM, the seminar focused on different aspects of water safety issues and its solutions and the need to create social awareness about the protection of water resources and rationalization of its exploitation.Other contributors to the seminar on different aspects of water safety were Wael Ahmed Awda and Abdul Wahid Qasim Mohammed, DM food studies and survey officers; Dr Jusni Jasir who discussed groundwater protection in Dubai; and Mohammed Abu Kaf, an environment and public health expert, who outlined the natural characteristics of water and sources of its pollution.