x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

UAE should integrate water and energy policy, experts say

Speaking at a panel on the opening day of the first International Water Summit, Michel Jarraud, chairman of UN Water, said the issues of water and energy were closely interdependent.

ABU DHABI // The UAE should integrate its policies on water and energy to avoid wasting precious resources, experts said yesterday.

Speaking at a panel on the opening day of the first International Water Summit, Michel Jarraud, chairman of UN Water, said the issues of water and energy were closely interdependent.

"Water is required to produce [energy] and energy is required for the extraction, treatment, collection and distribution of water," Mr Jarraud said. "Choices made for the production of water and energy can have a very significant impact on each other.

"Water and energy are cross-cutting issues and their increasing demand across most socio-economic sectors requires political, social and technical response across national and international governments."

Other experts agreed.

"This is a looming crisis waiting to unfold," said Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore's minister of environment and water resources.

"Meteorological services, reservoirs and network pipes are all integrated under a single agency in Singapore.

"Having it all under one roof allows us to achieve synergies and avoid unnecessary contradictions and artificial barriers."

He said "getting the politics and the economics right" was key.

Dr Ania Grobicki, the executive director of the Global Water Partnership, said solutions could include inter-ministry meetings to find integrated solutions, or putting a single ministry in charge of water and energy.

cmalek@thenational.ae