Mariam Almheiri: Water security is the foundation for sustainable development and strengthening food security in the UAE and the world

Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security

Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security, affirmed that water security is a main foundation for sustainable development and for strengthening food security in the UAE and the world, highlighting that the UAE is committed to conserving and managing water resources through an array of methods, including adopting advanced agricultural technology that rationalises consumption of water while increasing agricultural productivity.   

“Water security represents one of the most important global issues, as it is integral to ensuring the stability and development of all societies. This is a time when approximately 2.2 billion people do not have access to safe water, much of this being related to climate change, which is increasing droughts and desertification around the world,” said Her Excellency.

“The theme ‘Valuing water’ that forms the basis of this year’s World Water Day is particularly significant because it makes people think of exactly how precious water is, despite it being a natural resource that covers more than two thirds of the Earth’s surface. It reminds us that while our planet as a whole may never run out of water, clean freshwater is not always available when and where people need it. By valuing water and highlighting its importance, the world will be able to determine how water is managed, shared and utilised, especially in light of population growth, which necessitates increasing quantities of water for agricultural, industrial and urban activities,” Her Excellency added.

“The UAE faces significant water challenges stemming from its low annual rainfall and reducing levels of groundwater. Because of its continuing development and increasing population that is driving demand for water, it relies on desalination, a process which is energy-intensive, to that end the UAE is tackling water security on several fronts. At the supply end, we are investing in desalination techniques from clean and renewable energy, including solar, while at the demand end, we are developing more effective water management techniques. So for the agricultural sector we are increasing Closed Environment Agriculture technology that decreases water consumption by up to 95% compared to traditional agricultural systems. We are also working on doubling our capabilities in recycling wastewater to recirculate water that would otherwise be discarded,” Her Excellency continued.

Her Excellency stressed that the UAE has an integrated ecosystem for the management of its water resources and said that there will be many efforts in partnership with all concerned authorities in the country during the coming period to enhance water security across the UAE. These will be focused on ensuring the continuance of sustainable supplies of high quality water for homes, factories and facilities, thereby enabling the development of all sectors and the growth of the community. Her Excellency concluded by expressing her confidence in all members of society to support these efforts by increasing their awareness of the importance of water and understanding the need to conserve it by rationalising consumption.