Dubai Can – a new drive for water sustainability
It is time to shine a light on the need for innovative drinking water solutions
The Emirate of Dubai has just launched Dubai Can, a sustainability program with a focus on water.
The campaign will implement better water sustainability by fixing pipes, discouraging plastic drinking bottles and installing free public water dispensers.
Tackling water scarcity is a key battlefront in the ongoing climate crisis. The UN predicts a 40% global water shortfall by 2030. With such a key human need under threat, the drinking water business faces seismic consequences that can’t be ignored.
The need for action is obvious. An ongoing struggle against the encroaching desert has long defined Dubai’s relationship with its water supply, which enjoys limited natural reserves. Logistical difficulties continue to plague the country’s desalination processes, itself a cause for many environmental concerns.
Last year, Dubai was named the world’s third highest per-capita user of water. Only the USA and Canada scored higher.
The government has seen an enthusiastic response from both the public and private sectors. Over 1000 Dubai-based companies are partaking in the plan.
Incentives drive solutions
Innovation-driven solutions are already making a difference. Recently, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) revealed it has been using “Smart Ball” technology. Smart Ball is a small sphere which flows freely in the city’s pipes. It picks up unique sounds made by leaks and other indicators of potential breakdown.
Dubai implemented Smart Ball last April. The project saved 68.45 million gallons of water. The cost benefit of such saving stands at 2.74 million AED, the equivalent of $750 000 USD.
And that’s not all. Dubai-based company Smashing Cleaning Services released a washing unit for pre-prayer ceremonial washing and everyday personal hygiene which can reduce waste by one third.
Additionally, Dubai Can urges residents and visitors alike to ditch single-use plastic water bottles by directing them to new refilling stations. There are now 34 new locations where people can freely refill, with a total of 50 planned. Gulf News posted a list of where these stations can be found.
What this could mean for providers of innovative water technology?
The first point is obvious: the relationship between changing consumer behaviours, market trends and government action is symbiotic. The campaign has already highlighted ways in which its citizenry can lend a hand. For example, a huge percentage of wasted water goes towards cooking when “only half will do.” But sustainability goals cannot be met until all three areas are united in purpose and function
Secondly, sustainable business practice is here to stay. When it comes to collective responsibility and implementing plans of action, the lines separating consumers, businesses and governments are fading. Sustainability, rather than an option, is becoming a tenet.
Thirdly, the need for better quality water treatment, transport and dispensing will accelerate in the coming years. Far from just moving in on new markets, companies can lend their support to wider institutional projects.
Sustainability is the future of not only manufacturing and distribution but statecraft. Nations will opt for the greenest, cleanest technology as they navigate the challenges of a water shortfall that effects us all.
Those who make and sell the best dispensers now reserve their place in finding environmental solutions tomorrow.