UAE households the target for lowering water use

TheNational.ae

UAE households the target for lowering water use

ABU DHABI // The UAE has one of the world’s most efficient water-supply networks, losing only 10 per cent to leaks, so the focus for preserving the precious resource has to be on consumers.

And with demand for water continuing to grow, Abu Dhabi’s nine power and water plants, which between them can produce 4.1 billion litres of water a day, are near full capacity.

“There’s been a large growth in demand and the main challenge we face now is to meet this large growth,” said Mohammad Al Hajjiri, head of water forecasts at Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company.

“In the last 50 years we started living a lifestyle of people who have a lot of water.

“This lifestyle was imported from western countries.”

Mr Al Hajjiri was speaking at the International Water Summit that continued yesterday at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

Despite growing pressure on supplies worldwide, many countries still lose a third or more of their water to leaks.

Japan loses up to 40 per cent while Jordan loses at least half.

“Forty per cent of the global drinking water is lost because of this,” said Diego Lucente, senior water projects manager at Suez Environment.

“In developed countries, we lose [45 billion litres] of water a day in terms of leakage.”

In that context, Abu Dhabi’s 10 per cent leakage is in the top tier. The problem now lies with consumers.

“It’s not just about using technology to reduce your losses, it’s about lifestyle changes,” said Bob Taylor, the business development director at Sembcorp, a UK utilities services company.

The World Health Organisation says a good standard of living can be maintained with 160 litres of water a day a person. In warmer countries such as the UAE, 180 litres is considered the maximum needed.

“We’re using much more,” said Mr Al Hajjiri. “Abu Dhabi has one of the highest consumption rates in the world. We live in nice standards so if you want to reduce it, you have to change your lifestyle.”

The UAE’s water use is estimated at 350 litres a person a day.

Mr Al Hajjiri said the Government was embarking on campaigns to reduce household use.

Bills are colour-coded to indicate whether a family is using more or less water and electricity than the norm.

“The bill tells you the actual cost of water and electricity versus what you are paying and you pay less than a third of the amount,” he said.

But he is optimistic that the situation will change.

“My grandfather used to live on 20 litres a day,” Mr Al Hajjiri said.

“Now we live on [much more] but we have to keep those habits that were suitable to this part of the world.

“There’s a high rate of consumption that needs to be addressed.”

cmalek@thenational.ae

Taxis to charge Salik from Tuesday

GulfNews.com

Taxis to charge Salik from Tuesday

By Shafaat Shahbandari, Staff Reporter
Published: Jan 15, 2013 9:59 PM

Dubai: Taxis in Dubai will start charging a Dh4 toll from Tuesday when passing through Salik toll gates installed across four different locations in Dubai, a senior Roads and Transport (RTA) official told Gulf News.

Tolls for taxis are being reintroduced after a gap of four years, as the RTA upgrades meters that will automatically add toll charges to fares after passing through a Salik gate.

Taxis were allowed to pass through Salik gates without charge from December 2008 due to dozens of complaints by customers regarding the manual inclusion of tolls by taxi drivers that led to confusion and suspicion of cheating.

“We have now developed a system that will automatically include tolls when taxis pass through Salik gates. Earlier we had problems when taxi drivers were adding toll charges manually and there were a lot of complaints, which won’t be the case now,” said Adel Mohammad Shakeri, Director of the Transportation System Department, at the RTA’s Public Transport Agency.

The meters of all 8,000 taxis, including the franchise cabs, have been upgraded and will begin to charge tolls while passing through any of the four toll gates on Al Maktoum Bridge, Al Safa, Al Garhoud Bridge and Al Barsha.

“Customers will have an option to choose an alternative route and cabbies will have to ask them if they are willing to take a Salik route or an alternative route,” said Shakeri.

He added that taxis passing through two consecutive toll gates of Al Safa and Al Barsha within 30 minutes in a single trip will be charged only once, while all rides on Al Maktoum Bridge will be toll-free between 10pm and 6am.

“Our idea is to reduce traffic on Shaikh Zayed Road and drive them to alternative routes, if a customer doesn’t want to pay extra for the toll then he can choose an alternative route and we would like to encourage people using alternative routes,” he said.

However, neither cabbies nor customers are convinced that reintroducing the toll on taxis will solve the traffic problem.

“I think it’s absurd to think that reintroducing Salik will ease traffic on Shaikh Zayed Road, there only 8,000 taxis in Dubai which run across Dubai when compared to over a million vehicles in Dubai, how will a handful of taxis taken away from Shaikh Zayed Road reduce traffic,” said Nikita, a Dubai resident of Dubai.

Echoing her views a taxi driver said: “Many tourists would prefer to take Shaikh Zayed Road and won’t mind paying an additional Dh4 as a toll. I think even residents would prefer paying a toll rather taking an alternative route.”

Travel bans can be cleared at Abu Dhabi airport

Travel bans can be cleared at Abu Dhabi airport

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13 Jan 2013

Prospective travellers flying through Abu Dhabi who discover they are on a travel ban list due to unpaid fines will soon be able to still catch their flights.
The Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) announced the setting up of an ‘Injaz’ centre at the Capital’s airport, so people banned from leaving the country on the basis of court orders can pay off their fines.

Currently those who only discover their travel ban while at the airport are turned back and must go through a long-winded court process to clear their bans, resulting in missed flights.

The centre is to be a round-the-clock, seven-day service where defaulters, against whom courts have issued arrest warrants or international travel bans, can settle their financial obligations, an informed ADJD source said.

The source said the aim of the centre was to let blacklisted people pursue their travel abroad without restrictions.

The centre will also offer services like handing over photocopies of court verdicts and documents passed down by all courts in the emirate and relaying information about the travel ban.

news@khaleejtimes.com