x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Sewage water to help make offshore lush

Waste water from a sewage treatment plant is being reused to soak the roots of more than 150,000 plants.

DUBAI // Waste water from a sewage treatment plant is being reused to soak the roots of more than 150,000 plants at a nursery that could provide flowers, trees and shrubs to the Palm and Waterfront offshore projects. The 50-hectare nursery was opened a year ago and is now the largest in the country. The developer, Nakheel, said yesterday that it hoped eventually to produce four million plants a year.

The site is irrigated with the treated effluent from the Omran Workforce Accommodation, which houses construction workers. "We are delighted with the progress our nursery has made since its creation a year ago," said Matt Joyce, the managing director of the Waterfront project. "With the use of large greenhouses and shaded areas, our plants are flourishing amid the desert." Up to 20 hectares have been covered with soil and more than 7.5 hectares have been devoted to growing grass.

Nakheel said its nursery was trying to be as environmentally responsible as possible. One of its proposals would see the cuttings of trees and shrubs from established Nakheel communities put into a compost, where they will be reused in the nursery. "There has been a lot of interest in the plants and trees already. "We have taken our first order from the Badrah project within Waterfront and had enquiries from Palm Jumeirah. Interest is set to grow further as the development progresses."

The company is working on other environmentally friendly initiatives, such as solar panels, that could provide heat, light and electricity to residences and hotels. Palm Jumeirah, where more than 2,000 families live, has prided itself on its eco-friendly projects. The quality of the seawater is monitored frequently and sewage is treated on site. All of the greenery on the Palms must be planted in a contained area to prevent run-off water from polluting the sea and causing algal blooms.

Nakheel is one of Dubai's largest developers with a portfolio of projects that includes Palm Deira, The World, Waterfront, The Universe, The Gardens, International City and Ibn Battuta Mall. Those projects are have an estimated value of US$80 billion (Dh293bn) and will eventually add more than 1,000km of shoreline to Dubai. Nakheel recently announced that it cut 15 per cent of its total workforce, or 500 people. Its projects are being scaled back and re-evaluated. jgerson@thenational.ae