Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Water-saving devices can cut use

Original Article

DUBAI // Devices that could reduce domestic water use by up to 50 per cent are being installed in 58 buildings along Sheikh Zayed Road.

The project covers buildings on the stretch of motorway from the Dubai Trade Centre roundabout to the Defence Interchange.

Ahmed al Rafi, chief executive of the Dubai-based City Services, a private company that is installing the devices, said about Dh445,500 (US$121,288) worth of water could be saved a month, or 45,000 cubic metres – the equivalent of 18 Olympic-size swimming pools.

The project is scheduled for completion in October.

This is the first stage of a multimillion-dirham programme, which is sponsored by the real estate developer Emaar. Buildings along the length of Sheikh Zayed Road to Dubai Marina eventually will be included.

The devices, which include filters, reduce the pressure when people are showering, running taps or flushing toilets, cutting water consumption between 20 and 50 per cent.

Offices and apartments in another 58 to 60 buildings will have the new devices installed in phase two of the project, expected to start later this year.

Emaar would not reveal the cost of the project, but industry sources said the deal was worth several million dirhams and could reach tens of millions as the scheme progressed.

Water consumption in the UAE is among the highest in the world. Karim Idriss, 34, one the Sheikh Zayed Road residents affected by the change, said: “The pressure is a bit less now. There was quite a lot of pressure before.”

Mr Idriss, a Lebanese sales and marketing professional, lives in Sky Tower. “One thing that is nice is that the cold water lasts longer so I get to wash my face with cold water in the morning,” he said.

The type of devices fitted is determined only after a private consultant audits water use in a building.

In Mr Idriss’s apartment, the devices were put on taps and not showers.

The devices can be adjusted depending on the target that is set. The biggest savings, reaching up to 50 per cent, could be achieved in commercial buildings such as shopping malls, where people were more willing to compromise on convenience, Mr Rafi said.

In five-star luxury hotels, for instance, where the scope for compromise is less, the savings would be only 15 to 20 per cent, he said.

Besides sponsoring the project along Sheikh Zayed Road, Emaar is also investing in similar devices in its own projects and existing developments such as the Greens, Lake, Meadown, Emirates Hills and the Arabian Ranches.

City Services has already installed water-saving devices in 90 per cent of the completed area of the Burj Dubai development. It is expected the initiative will continue as more buildings in the development are completed.

If the project succeeds, there are benefits for individuals and the emirate as a whole. Residents will pay less for water consumption without having to invest in the water-saving equipment. The project is also expected to reduce the amount of sewage reaching Dubai’s treatment plant in Al Aweer. The facility, run by Dubai Municipality, is now operating at twice its design capacity.

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