SDG 6: CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION
In 2016, the World Economic Forum (WEF) listed ‘Water Crises’ as one of top 10 global risks to impact the world. Water security concerns are particularly acute in the UAE as the country is located in one of the most water scarce regions of the world. In line with the UAE Vision 2021 and SDG 6, the Ministry of Energy and Industry (MOEI) developed the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036 with the overarching objective of setting a roadmap to achieve water security. The strategy was developed in collaboration with more than 30 entities in the water sector and built on a large repertoire of previous studies and references. The aim of the strategy is to enhance water security planning and risk management, through tools such as the national water risk register, an integrated hydraulic water network model and an emergency impact simulator.
• The UAE energy and water demand-side management program 2050, launched in 2018, will set the action plan required to reach national targets for energy and water demand reduction and efficiency improvements
• The Water Security Strategy 2036, launched in 2018, is considered the first unified water security strategy in the country.
• The UAE faces water related challenges such as the scarcity of fresh natural water resources, the depletion of groundwater, the high demand for water, the high water losses from water distribution networks and the low irrigation efficiency, and limited utilization of available treated wastewater
• The water system lacks the resilience to deal with emergencies. In addition, desalination plants result in a high carbon footprint
• Data collection and reporting are a challenge, as a result MOEI has launched the data management and automation platform ATMATA, which uses digital platforms for water data collection and management.
A unique invention aimed at conserving natural rainwater for use in irrigation systems has won a national high school innovation competition, organized by Canadian University Dubai (CUD).
The competition, which was won by a team from Abu Dhabi Grammar School, was staged alongside the International Conference on Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship held recently in Dubai. It challenged teams of senior high school students to develop a new technology, business concept, product or service that reflected one or more of the conference themes.
The top ten projects were presented to a multidisciplinary panel of academic judges during day one of the conference, with the top three winning teams being announced during the gala dinner, which concluded the two-day event.
The all-girl group of students – Hamida Al-Aribe, Sama Abdelsalam and Dana Dobrosavljevic – presented the winning entry on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Grammar School team, taking away AED 5,000 for their innovative and environmentally-conscious technology.
Hamida explained, “Our new conservative irrigation system supports the collection of rainwater, and its transportation to a storage box, from where it can then be used for irrigation purposes. The system also has soil moisture sensors that indicate the moisture in the soil to make sure that no water is wasted.”
Taking the second prize of AED 3,000 were Braden Bihag and Carl Vinter, representing their team from Dubai International Academy. The pair secured the runners-up position with their project AeroCig, a product that uses revolutionary filter technology to eradicate secondary and tertiary smoke from the burning end of a cigarette, to protect non-smokers in a smoking environment.
Third place in the competition was won by Noor Walid Eldegwy, Sawsan Nasser Elsharqawy, and Shahd Refaat Odeh, of Al Ma’arifa International School. The team took away AED 1,000 for their creative app, CAP (Capture.Airport.People), which aims to ease airport travel through a number of experience enhancement features.
The top ten shortlisted projects, which had previously been selected during a qualifying round at CUD, were showcased to more than 200 delegates attending the international conference, held at Atlantis, The Palm.
October 27th, 2015: Canadian University Dubai (CUD) has teamed up with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) to further strengthen its sustainable environmental practices in the management of physical infrastructure and campus facilities.
A team of DEWA engineers recently visited the University to evaluate current environmental policies and systems, and to offer recommendations for measures that could further enhance CUD’s existing sustainability credentials.
CUD has been recognized in the higher education sector as a leader in the environmental movement. In recent years, the University has adapted its lighting, air conditioning and water consumption systems to improve its energy efficiency and reduce its use of natural resources. The institution was recognized for its efforts with a DEWA Conservation Award in 2014.
According to Koutaiba Ahmed, Senior Manager of Physical Resources and Procurement at CUD, there are a number of no- or low-cost solutions that can make a real impact in terms of reducing energy consumption.
He said, “Some of our major energy savers have been cost-free initiatives such as turning off water chillers between 11pm and 5am, and implementing a campus-wide policy on the regulation of air conditioning temperature.
“We have also made some small investments that have brought about significant savings, both in terms of natural and financial resources, including the installation of motion-sensor taps in all washroom facilities on campus.”
During their visit around the University campus, the DEWA team used specialist equipment to measure key resource indicators, such as natural luminosity and tap water flow, to help evaluate what further energy saving practices could be adopted.
Ryan Sisson, Lecturer in the School of Environment and Health Sciences said, “The ongoing assessment of our physical infrastructure is an important part of the continuous improvement process, and sits alongside the education and awareness raising activities we conduct to promote environmental sustainability across campus.
“We value the support of DEWA in providing us with recommendations that can inform future strategies, which will not only improve the University’s environmental credentials, but also help its leadership to develop strategies that will results in long-term cost savings that can be invested in other priority areas.”
Power experts come to Dubai to discuss 'green' future
DUBAI, February 2014: Dubai's future investment in green technology and the environment will be discussed at a newly-established forum for international experts.
Top officials from Dubai government will join with green economy practitioners, educators and researchers from around the globe at a series of summits organised by the Centre of Excellence for Green Development.
The International Conclave on Data Analytics, Business Intelligence, Action Research and Cases in Power and Energy takes place from 24th - 26th February at the Canadian University Dubai, marking the launch of the Centre of Excellence for Green Development.
Members of the Ministry of Environment and Water in the UAE will be among those meeting with delegates from global power companies, such as NTPC Ltd - a public sector company owned by the Government of India and one of the biggest power producers in the world - to discuss a broad range of environmental projects ranging from Dubai's initiatives to phase out inefficient light bulbs to how businesses can improve their LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating.
Dubai has announced grand projects to reduce its carbon footprint, most recently with the announcement last October of the launch of the AED120million solar power plant at the AED12billion Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. Still, the UAE has the largest ecological footprint in the world, more than ten times that of India.
Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in India and lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said: "For corporates everywhere, sustainability is no longer a 'feel good' issue, but a necessity to make them future-ready.
"This conference will provide a forum for the sharing of lessons and experiences in adopting green practices, and stimulate the accelerated adoption of these practices".
Wassim Adlouni, Partner and Board member at The Sustainable City, believes that sharing knowledge between countries will encourage best practice here in Dubai.
"This is a very important conference for us and for Dubai," he said. "Partnering with the government, we have implemented many environment-saving solutions such as the use of solar panels, recycling of waste water, the reduction of emissions in construction, but we have much to learn. We hope to pass on some of our experiences and get ideas from other countries for the benefit of Dubai and the rest of the world."
Other confirmed speakers include Neeraj Bansal, Head of Real Estate and Construction, KPMG India, who will shed new light on the debate between balancing the environment with construction.
All delegates will be given a chance to experience first hand some of the success stories here in the UAE, including a tour of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, recognised internationally as one of the 'greenest' buildings in the region.
The Canadian University Dubai and the Centre of Excellence for Green Development are both owned by Dubai Education.
The purpose of the Centre of Excellence for Green Development is to help Dubai achieve the aims set out last June in its Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 at the Dubai Global Energy Forum - to make the emirate a role model to the world in energy security and efficiency
Chairman of Dubai Education, Mr Buti Al Ghandi, said: "The Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy launched with the visionary guidance of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai sets out a roadmap towards energy and water security by 2030.
"Dubai Education L.L.C. is pleased to support this vision through the creation of the Centre of Excellence for Green Development. As we move forward, the Centre of Excellence will fulfil its objectives through constructive collaborations with academic and industry partners. The Centre will provide a forum for discussion and dissemination of ideas and best practices by supporting the communities in which we operate."
Students from the School of Public Health & Health Sciences at Canadian University Dubai (CUD) have been given a fascinating insight into the personal as well as environmental effects of electronic waste disposal at a guest lecture led by recycling expert, Mr. Ken Neil.
Representing UAskmE, a specialist e-waste management organization based in the UAE, Mr. Neil revealed how the unregulated disposal of unwanted electronic equipment can have alarming consequences, from polluting drinking water supplies to spreading cybercrime.
Speaking about the proliferation of mobile phones in particular, and the dangers of disposing of them in an uncontrolled way, Mr. Neil said, “Many people simply do not realize the wealth of personal data they carry on their phones, and unknowingly expose themselves to the serious threat of identity theft when they discard or recycle their unwanted handset.”
Going on to discuss the consequences of dumping redundant electronic devices, Mr. Neil revealed how a single mobile phone can pollute 600,000 liters of water, and how poisons released from heavy metals used in equipment manufacture can have serious implications for public health.
He also highlighted some of the emerging strategies that are being developed in different parts of the world to try and tackle the problem, and spoke about the unique work of UAskmE in supporting individuals and organizations to safely and efficiently retire unused electronic equipment.
For senior students Hiba Saleem, Aliyah Salim, Nada Hashish, and Maria Conception, the lecture was a valuable insight into the future challenges of the environmental sustainability sector.
Maria said, “The lecture really opened my eyes to the extent of the e-waste problem, how dangerous it can be, and how even the most advanced economies still have a long way to go in finding workable solutions to the challenge.”
Nada, meanwhile, stressed the importance of civic engagement in tacking the problem, saying, “Raising public awareness of the implications of e-waste disposal is vital, as is developing the policies and infrastructure to deal with the waste in effectively.”
For Aliyah, it reinforced the mantra to reduce, reuse and recycle. She said, “We need to start by trying to promote a change in mindset to help lessen the over-consumption of electronic devices and encourage more recycling solutions.”
The guest lecture was organized by faculty member, Mr. Ryan Sisson, as part of CUD’s mission to embed applied learning into the curriculum, allowing undergraduate students to interact with industry experts and hear about the latest sector developments from leading professionals in the field.
For Hiba, it was one of many initiatives that have helped to develop her skills and understanding of the sector. She said, “The practical projects and guest lectures such as this have prepared us to think about solutions to the real-world problems that we will face in the professional world.”
Two of Canadian University Dubai’s most talented and inventive Environmental Health students participated in the “Seeds of the Future” competition hosted by Huawei. They competed against 50 other inventors vying for worldwide recognition and were awarded funding of AED 25,000 to bring their project to life.
The event, which was held in cooperation with the Federal Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) and held under the patronage of the Ministry of Health, reached out to young minds in a bid to inspire innovation in the field of Environmental Health Management.
The competition took place over a 6 month period and among the original fifty entries from different educational institutions in the UAE, the CUD team was selected to be among the sixteen teams in the second round which was then trimmed to six teams in the third and final round.
Each of the six finalists received funding, and CUD’s own Maha Talli and Maitha Almarzooqi were one of them.
The team was supported by Dr. Yassen Alfoteih, Assistant Professor, who specializes in Environmental Biology. All hypothesis testing, technical support and portfolio were carried out at CUD science labs designed to find an effective, easy, cheap and practical product along with a phone app. to check the purity of drinking water
Maha Talli, when describing the motivation behind embarking on this competition said, “developing the App and seeing it come to life inspired me greatly because I knew that it would help save lives. Over 844 million people lack safe drinking water, a commodity we all take for granted, so this invention is my way of giving back and appreciating the little things that make all the difference.”
Water has no monetary valuation and many countries in the world facing scarcity and water stress. Moreover, declining water quality has become a global issue of concern as human populations grow, industrial and agricultural activities expand, and climate change threatens to cause major alterations to the hydrological cycle.
CUD should be proud of our students and wish them good fortune in the final leg of their journey as they use the funding to bring their invention to life and see it used in impoverished areas of Africa, South America, the Middle East, and beyond.