x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Green water technology

New irrigation technology can help conserve water across the UAE. But that is just the beginning.

From golf courses and gardens to parks and greenhouses: anyone who has taken a drive around the UAE knows that all of that greenery is the product of a lot of hard work.

So it should come as good news that a test project is underway that could significantly reduce our daily water consumption. As The National reports today, a private firm is experimenting with a subsurface irrigation system on Yas Island and in Al Ain to test water-conservation technology.

Given that almost 80 per cent of national water consumption is for irrigation, and that most of this fresh water is manufactured by energy-intensive desalination plants, any effort to make irrigation "greener" should be seen as positive.

Of course, irrigation projects in the desert raise other questions. While a green city is surely a pleasure to live in, keeping a small industry like farming afloat could seem an expensive priority. The UAE already imports 85 per cent of the food it consumes; no flood of greener solutions is likely to alter this equation.

But new technologies, like this project sponsored by Epic Green Solutions and the Urban Planning Council, are welcome. Developing solutions to old problems can make existing farms better stewards. And they might help "green" farms abroad if others take an interest in the research.