Developing Water and Energy Resources Management to Promote Economic Sustainability
During its meeting, held as part of the UAE Government Annual Meetings in Abu Dhabi, the Energy and Water Working Group discussed plans to create vast protected underground aquifers that would act as strategic emergency reserves, improve the efficiency of rain water harvesting in dams to raise groundwater levels, and use desalinated water surplus to feed underground water using the artificial injection technology.
Participants adopted the UAE Hydrological Map initiative, an e-plan that will be utilized to assess surface and groundwater resources for construction of dams and water facilities, identify areas of floods and the geographic distribution of different types of water bodies, as well as to determine the level, quality, and quantity of groundwater.
The UAE Aqua Storage and Recovery initiative was launched to study and store strategic water reserve in the northern and eastern Emirates of the UAE, to be dedicated for emergency use. The meeting further witnessed announcing the UAE Energy Outlook initiative which aims to use the existing energy models to form an integrated model, and simulate the various policy options to support the achievement of the Energy Strategy 2050 goals. It will also provide long-term energy forecasts and supply bids for all sectors.
His Excellency Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Industry, stressed that the provision of water at all times and under all conditions is one of the most important strategic challenges facing all countries. On its part, the UAE has developed comprehensive strategic plans to preserve water resources and enhance water security. In 2018, the Water Security Strategy 2036 was adopted, focusing mainly on improving the management of natural water resources and supporting the strategic water reserves. It further includes mapping the protected groundwater aquifers to serve as strategic water reserve, and improving the efficiency of rainwater harvesting in dams to increase groundwater levels. The strategy also aims to use water desalination capacity surplus to feed underground water using the artificial water injection technology, in order to support the strategic freshwater storage.
The UAE aims at keeping pace with future needs in the energy, water, and electricity sectors by developing the management of the electricity market and establishing comprehensive strategic plans to preserve water resources and improve water security.
The meeting stressed the need to establish a platform for trading energy between electricity entities in the UAE and other GCC countries, in a bid to provide energy from cheaper resources or grids.
Participants also indicated that the energy and water sector is witnessing a development overhaul and creating new opportunities to keep pace with the economic and demographic growth. This falls in line with the UAE's global commitments to climate change and in support of the process to build a robust economy.
Work Mechanism Fostering the Spirit of Integration
The UAE Government Annual Meetings represent a work mechanism designed to enhance government integration at the federal and local levels and reflect the visions and goals of the UAE wise leadership. The meetings are chaired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces; and with the participation of Their Highnesses the Crown Princes, and 500 ministers and officials from various local and federal government entities.
Last year, during the First Government Annual Meetings, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Their Highnesses the Crown Princes chaired one of the meetings. Over 450 leading government officials, heads of the Executive Councils of the UAE also attended the meetings, alongside several ministers, federal government entities officials, heads of local government entities, undersecretaries, directors of federal entities, local general managers, assistant undersecretaries and executives. The meetings witnessed the launch of several important initiatives and strategies that were implemented over the course of last year.