April 20, 2021

UAE and Netherlands cooperate in fresh water management

Government agencies in the UAE and The Netherlands are working together to develop new ways of dealing with water scarcity.

While the countries have very different climates, they both have freshwater management difficulties.

The Dutch envoy for international water affairs, Henk Ovink was at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which took place from 16-23 January.

He said: “It is an opportunity for the UAE to collaborate across the Gulf and for The Netherlands to bring knowledge and expertise to that collaboration and strengthen the approach of water resilience.”

Mr Ovink explained that such collaboration could include improving the ways in which water is reused and rainfall is captured.

Research and consultancy groups are also looking at ways of ways of improving the efficiency of water usage in agriculture and energy generation.

Geoff Toms, Middle East and Gulf manager of Deltares, which opened an office in Abu Dhabi in January, said: “We do studies helping [organisations] like the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) to look at their groundwater resources in a different way. It is really [about] making the water technology of The Netherlands available to the users here that could use that knowledge and share and develop it with us.”

Nicholas Lodge, managing partner at the Abu Dhabi-based agriculture consultancy Clarity said: “As a densely populated country with intensive industrial and agricultural production, The Netherlands has had to develop world-class technologies to protect its limited supplies of good quality water, due to the country lying below sea level.”

The issue of water shortage is high on the international agenda, with the World Economic Forum placing it top of its list of potential crises in the next 10 years

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