Pressure piles on to change attitudes to water use
Experts urge exploration into water conservation methods and gadgets
With World Water Day on March 22, the industry is being urged to explore various ways of promoting water conservation through its operations.
The UAE, at present, consumes more than three times the global average, making it one of the largest water consumers per capita in the world.
While ideally, the optimum time to implement water saving initiatives would be at the concept stages of a project, there is no reason initiatives can’t be put in place at any point of a building’s lifecycle to help resolve the issue of excessive water consumption, says Sebastian Khandjan, technical director, Middle East Environmental Technologies (MEET).
“Simply put, when is a good time not to consider water conservation?” asks Khandjan.
“This is a changing process with new technologies coming up every year. Build phase is a must, however with these new technologies, the option to retrofit is always there and as long as the savings justify the financial return and CO2 offset on emissions, this should be a continuous process for all projects at all times.”
But is simply putting the technologies in place enough to solve the problem?
Finding that a majority of water consumed in the UAE comes from desalinated water plants which consume a lot of energy, Masdar is exploring water conservation methods which in turn, it hopes, will aid energy consumption also.
The design of the residential at the Masdar Institute has achieved a 54% reduction of water waste through the use of water saving fixtures and fittings. While more efficient results can be seen when water conservation tools are considered at the design stages, there is always an education process required, explains Naser Ali Al Marzooqi, Facilities Manager, Masdar.
“Water security, and its close connection with energy, is a major focus for Abu Dhabi, with the city aiming to host the inaugural International Water Summit in 2013 and bringing together policy makers and experts to initiate a dialogue to improve management of water resources,” said Al Marzooqi.
“Raising awareness is important in improving water conservation and we carry out awareness campaigns for our clients and also to the population of Abu Dhabi,” he added.