Mohammad Mohammad Saleh, Director General of Etihad Water and Electricity, affirmed that the UAE leadership realizes the importance of water as a vital and indispensable resource. Therefore, the National Water Security Strategy has been developed, including awareness programs aimed at consolidating a culture of rationalization of consumption.
Saleh pointed out that there is an integrated plan to meet the current and future needs and achieve the national strategy for water security, where there are many projects with the aim of doubling the production of desalinated water through a number of desalination plants, especially the new desalination plant of UAQ with a capacity of 150 million gallons per day.
He stated that the structural capacity of groundwater in the areas served by Etihad Water and Electricity amounts to about 36 million gallons per day, which is considered as reserve quantities that are kept as a strategic stock in emergency cases, and the strategy adopted by Etihad Water and Electricity to preserve groundwater is to provide desalinated water and deliver it to the categories which tend to consume groundwater.
He explained that Etihad Water and Electricity produces about 20 billion gallons annually, while the amount of water distributed after adding other water resources is about 30 billion gallons annually, pointing out that the cost of producing one gallon of water is 1.16 dirhams, which is about 255 dirhams per cubic meter. The number of water desalination plants affiliated to Etihad Water and Electricity is 8, 6 of which are with a reverse osmosis system and 2 with a multi-stage evaporation system, explaining that the new water desalination plant in Umm Al Quwain cost 2.2 billion dirhams.
He said that the most important challenges facing the desalination process of sea water are the phenomenon of red tide and the emergence of algae, pointing out that the work plans of Etihad Water and Electricity have been structured to be in line with the water security strategy aimed at ensuring the sustainability and continuity of access to water during various circumstances and relying on modern technologies to deal with various phenomena such as modifying chemical injection systems and primary treatment in the operation of desalination plants in order to separate the largest possible amount of impurities before they reach the water intakes in production plants.