14,400 swimming pools: That’s how much water UAE dams collected in 2 days
The UAE’s ongoing record-breaking rain spell has helped it boost its freshwater reserves considerably. With the rainfall came flooded roads and neighbourhoods, and authorities have been working overtime to drain the water. So what happens to all that drained rainwater?
The country is serious about conserving the rainwater through its special reservoirs and over 140 dams, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, told Khaleej Times on Wednesday.
In just two days (January 11 and 12), the dams collected 36 million cubic metres of rainwater. Between January 9 and 12, the country recorded its highest rainfall in 45 years. In an interview earlier this week, the minister attributed climate change and cloud seeding to the non-stop rains the country has been witnessing.
“In the UAE, we have more than 140 dams. It is one of the ways to harvest the water after a rainfall,” he said. “There are plans to build more dams. The Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Infrastructure Development are working on it. We are going to continue encouraging people to explore more and more ways of conserving and capitalising on rainwater,” Al Zeyoudi added on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
Dr Matar Hamid Al Neyadi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and Industry, said dams in the northern region collected the maximum rainwater at 23 million cubic metres. It was Wadi Al Beeh dam in Ras Al Khaimah that alone was filled with 20 million cubic metres. The dam supplies water to Al Burairat and Al Hamraniya in Ras Al Khaimah.
The Dubai Media Office had earlier said that 1.3 million cubic metres of rainwater were drained off Dubai streets in three days from January 10. As per Khaleej Times calculations, that is equivalent to 430 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Sand basins in Sharjah
In Sharjah, officials have already drained 20,000 tanker-loads of water. A top official said this was water was transported to “sand basins in the wilderness areas”.
Hassan Al Atefaq, director of agriculture and environment department at the Sharjah Municipality, said the civic body also uses the excess water to boost groundwater reserves. This is potable water that can be used for domestic purposes.
Special reservoirs in Ras Al Khaimah
Ras Al Khaimah drained 4.25 million gallons of water on January 10-12. Ahmad Hamad, an advisor to the department of public works in Ras Al Khaimah, said the drained water was off-loaded at “special reservoirs”.
“The millions of gallons collected from all the roads of the emirate are poured in these reservoirs to help increase our underground water balance.”
Water security strategy
The UAE Water Security Strategy 2036 aims to ensure sustainable access to water during both normal and emergency conditions. Various ministries work in tandem to avoid a situation of water crisis in the country. One main objective of the strategy is to reduce the total demand for water resources by 21 per cent.
-Cubic metres of water collected in dams on January 11 and 12
-Equivalent to 14,400 Olympic-sized swimming pools
-Cubic metres of water collected in just Wadi Al Beeh dam
-Equivalent to 8,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools
-Used for supplying potable water to Al Burairat and Al Hamraniya (Ras Al Khaimah)
-Number of dams in the country: 20,000
-Tanker loads of water drained off Sharjah streets
-Stored in special sand basins to boost ground water reserves
Rain in Al Ain’s Khatm Al Shakla broke a 45-year record for most rainfall received