Significance of Domestic Water Conservation

The Middle East region is plagued by water scarcity and water mismanagement. Despite heavy investment in the water sector, water management remains a serious economic and environmental issue throughout the region. Overconsumption of water is a serious issue as per capita use of water in most of the Middle Eastern countries is several times more water than the global average. For example, on an average each UAE and Saudi Arabian resident consume 550 liters and 250 liters of water per day respectively. On the other hand, per capita water consumption in United Kingdom and Germany is 150 liters and 127 liters per day respectively. These statistics are a grim reminder that excessive consumption of water must be curbed urgently in order to secure water supplies for the coming generations.

Water scarcity is a reality in almost all Middle East countries, be it arid Kuwait or green Jordan. However, most of the people are either unaware or have ignored this stark fact. High population growth coupled with rapid industrialization calls for a sustainable water use pattern in domestic, industrial and agricultural sectors. Domestic sector is responsible for one of the largest water consumption in the Middle East. For example, in United Arab Emirates private households account for about one-fourth of total water consumption. Households use water for drinking, washing, air conditioning, gardening, landscaping etc. Due to rising water demand and dwindling freshwater supplies, domestic water conservation is an urgent need of the hour. Water conservation can help not only help in saving water but will also conserve energy required for desalination, treatment and transport of water.

Domestic water conservation can be used in all types of residential, institutional, and commercial buildings in the Middle East. Installation of technologies and products like faucet aerators, low-flow or sensored faucets, low-flow showerheads, low-flush and composting toilets, water-saving dishwashers and clothes washers can play a significant role in saving water at the domestic level. Moreover, detecting and fixing leaks in water system, and ensuring operation of valves at the optimum pressure, can save good deal of water. Fixing leaks in pipes, fittings, tanks, and fixtures enhances the effectiveness of water-saving products. Pressure-reducing valves can be used to lessen the force and amount of water flows.

To promote conservation, water supply should be metered and monetized. Monitoring and metering can increase efficiency of water distribution network and can provide accurate data of consumption level of a particular consumer. Removal of subsidies and appropriate pricing of water can be a powerful tool to enforce water conservation at household level. Pricing of water will not only help in improvement of water infrastructure but may also a strong message to the public that water has certain monetary value and should be conserved.

Providing subsidies on water-saving devices, like toilet retrofits, can be an attractive inducement. Encouragement of xeriscaping or natural landscaping can significantly reduce outdoor water use in arid climate, like that of the Middle East. Water conservation is often confused with reduction of water consumption. However, it also includes use of improved technologies and practices that deliver equal or better service with less water.  

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About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA and a renowned expert in waste management, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainability. He is widely acknowledged as an authority on environment and sustainability sector in the Middle East and regularly consulted on environmental projects by top firms in the region and beyond. Salman is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on clean energy, environment and sustainability through his websites, blogs, articles and projects. He has participated in numerous conferences as session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is a prolific professional cleantech writer and has authored numerous articles in reputed journals, magazines and newsletters. He holds Masters and Bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering and can be contacted on salman@ecomena.org or salman@bioenergyconsult.com
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3 Responses to Significance of Domestic Water Conservation

  1. Pingback: Domestic Water Conservation in Middle East « Cleantech Solutions

  2. Kate Miller says:

    Hey Salman,
    This post highlights a very important issue that is often ignored in the United States. We waste millions of gallons of water every day along with all other energy resources. I liked the infographic in this post as well. I didn’t know that mulch was used to keep more water in the soil around your plants. Great tips that would be easy enough to implement. In my home we use a tankless hot water heater to conserve water and natural gas. Instead of wasting water while waiting for it to heat up, there systems deliver nearly instantaneous hot water. The savings are greater for natural gas, but they do help save water as well. Keep up the great posts!

    • Salman Zafar says:

      Hi Kate

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Water conservation can help our Earth’s water cycle by allowing the cycle to continue in its natural form. By abusing freshwater supply, we are pushing water cycle to its limit. 

      Best wishes

      Salman

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