Water Resources and Water Demands in the UAE

  • Abdulrahman S. Alsharhan
  • Zeinelabidin E. Rizk
Part of the World Water Resources book series (WWR, volume 3)


The UAE has very limited conventional water resources represented by groundwater, aflaj systems, natural springs and seasonal floods. These resources fall short to meet the escalating water demands of all sectors. Therefore, in addition to conventional resources, the UAE started reliance on desalinated water and treated wastewater as nonconventional water resources since early 1970s in order to fill the growing gap between resources and demands.

The annual conventional water resources in the UAE in 2015 are: seasonal floods (125 Mm3), permanent and springs (5 Mm3), aflaj systems (20–30 Mm3) and groundwater (1850 Mm3). The annual nonconventional water resources in 2015 include: 1750 Mm3 of desalinated water and 584 Mm3 of treated wastewater.

There is a steady increase in water resources usage and demand during the period 2002–2025. Production of desalinated water reached 1750 Mm3 in 2015, and is expected to exceed 5 Bm3 2025, in order to meet the increasing needs for domestic purposes. The industrial sector is witnessing rapid development and its water demand expected to be 895 Mm3 in 2025. The total annual water demand is expected to increase from 4400 Mm3 in 2008 to 7100 Mm3 in 2030, while the expected contribution of groundwater to the total water demand is assumed to remain at 2200 Mm3 per year during this period. MOEW (Water conservation strategy. Ministry of Environment and Water, p 212, 2010) believed that integrated water resources management in the UAE could create the needed balance between different water sources and water demand.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abdulrahman S. Alsharhan
    • 1
  • Zeinelabidin E. Rizk
    • 2
  1. 1.Middle East Geological and Environmental EstablishmentDubaiUnited Arab Emirates
  2. 2.University of Science and Technology of FujairahFujairahUnited Arab Emirates

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