Why save water?

Water in Abu Dhabi

The responsible management of water resources is an issue of growing importance around the world. What challenges do we face in Abu Dhabi and how are we dealing with them?
Water in Abu Dhabi

"Future generations will be living in a world that is very different from that to which we are accustomed. It is essential that we prepare ourselves and our children for that new world.”

– H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan

As Abu Dhabi grows and thrives, our demand for water continues to rise. What we lack in natural freshwater supply, we make up for with desalination, an important technology that provides water for the whole Emirate but that also requires financial, energy and environmental costs.

Looking to the future, as our Emirate continues to prosper, continuing to meet the demand for water will be a significant challenge. This is why the government of Abu Dhabi is taking action through Waterwise and other initiatives to address this issue and enable all sectors across the Emirate to improve water efficiency and decrease our overall consumption.

We need to consider the longer-term perspective regarding water supply and consumption, for our own wellbeing and for generations to come.


A global issue

Water, its availability and responsible management are issues of growing importance around the world. Natural geographical and geological factors have always made water easily available in some regions and scarce in others. But as growing populations rely more heavily on fresh water reserves and climatic conditions begin to change, the supply of clean, potable water is of increasing concern to governments and individuals alike.

And a local one

Abu Dhabi is in a desert climate where fresh water resources are naturally limited. Older generations fully appreciated the true value and limited nature of water resources and created ingenious methods to conserve them and consume only what was needed.

Rapid economic growth has resulted in an unprecedented population boom in the Emirate; population figures have more than tripled in less than three decades and are expected to exceed 3 million by 2030.

chart EN

(Source: Regulation & Supervision Bureau, 2011 Annual Report)


Today, desalination plants provide our most significant source of potable drinking water. All of Abu Dhabi enjoys a continuous supply of safe, clean water in quantities that were unimaginable decades ago.

Desalination produces drinkable water by removing the salt and other elements from seawater using high temperatures or pressure. Abu Dhabi’s water transmission and distribution infrastructure then delivers this water all across the emirate to our homes, businesses and public spaces.

While desalination provides Abu Dhabi with the ability to grow and thrive beyond what our natural fresh water resources would allow, the process is expensive and consumes a lot of energy. It also has environmental effects, increasing salt levels in the sea and affecting marine ecosystems.

While desalination is our best available option for supplying the Emirate with potable water, we must honestly recognise its costs along with its benefits. And we must treat the challenge of managing our resources responsibly. Managing the continued supply of clean water for all not only requires efforts by the government and forward-thinking leadership; it also requires active participation from all of us, doing what we can to conserve water, using it efficiently and taking pride in being Waterwise.