With the UAE heavily dependent on groundwater and desalination plants, experts are suggesting conserving water in the region by using less for agriculture, according to a Reuters report.
The UAE is amongst the highest consumers of water in the world. Abu Dhabi’s Environment Agency is expecting the UAE’s fresh water reserves to deplete in the next five decades, highlighting concerns for the future of the Gulf’s water resources.
“Wars can erupt because of water," Mohammed Khalfan al Rumaithi, director general of the UAE's National Emergency and Crisis Management Authority told Reuters. "Using groundwater for agriculture is risky. If it doesn't harm us it will harm other generations," Rumaithi told the Federal National Council, which was discussing plans for securing food and water reserves.
Leading plans to secure water reserves Abu Dhabi, which uses 550 litres of water per person per day, launched a pilot last year for the world’s largest underground reservoir, which would store 90 days of rationed water.
"We suffer from a shortage of water, and we should think about solutions to preserve it rather than using it for agriculture," Rumaithi said according to the news agency. “Setting up strategic water reserves would safeguard against a possible disruption of the 70 desalination stations that supply 24% of the UAE's water demand.”
The UAE already invests heavily in farms across the globe, which helps secure food supplies but is also viewed by some as a method of reducing the consumption of local fresh water.