GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
Quenching the thirst of the UAE: water security stresses that challenge developments
Paper Proposal Text :
Of all the natural resource challenges facing the GCC countries, water scarcity is arguably the most fundamental problem to be overcome. The declining strategic reserves of groundwater allied with growing salinization of both inland and coastal aquifers is leading to declining and degraded water resources. In the UAE the estimated groundwater reserves (44 years at current consumption) and desalinated water stores (30 days maximum even on restricted use) highlight the stresses in the resource system.
In this paper the complexity of the water picture is explored both from a resource as well as institutional and legal standpoints. The UAE constitution states that water is the property of each Emirate and the resulting institutional fragmentation allied with poor alignment of policies across sectors has ensure the natural system is being unintentionally stressed. The different legal and regulatory frameworks bring varying controls on the water service and resource sectors. Given the shared aquifers, shared sea and share air this can bring difficulties in managing the environmental impact of the water industries. The paper will also show some of the most recent outcomes from climate change modeling at ICBA and the predicted implications for water and its many user sectors.
Water has now become a priority on the political agenda at both Emirate and Federal level and many of the intransigent problems are being reviewed today. The new policy measures being considered will be reviewed in the paper and the implications for sustainable development assessed.
Aligning the economic development plans for the UAE against the natural resource base is an ongoing challenge with many more steps needed before this is achieved.