Explained: 10 ways to cut your water consumption

Abu Dhabi could run out of fresh water in less than 50 years. Here's what you can do.

United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi - April 28th, 2010:  Irrigation tubes provide vital water to plants at Al Ain Wildlife Park.  (Galen Clarke/The National)
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The average Abu Dhabi apartment dweller uses between 180 to 190 litres of water every day. That’s enough to fill half a bathtub. If we keep using at the current rate, there will be no natural fresh water left in Abu Dhabi within our lifetime.

Most of our household water consumption comes from desalination plants, which run on natural gas, are costly and harmful to the environment.

Here are 10 easy ways to do your part.



1. Take shorter showers. A minute in the shower can use 17 litres of water. Set a timer or shut off the shower while lathering up. Every minute counts.

2. Eat like a vegetarian. A vegetarian diet can cut your water-related food imprint by 36 per cent. It takes 9,000 litres of water to produce a pound of meat and just 94 litres to produce a pound of wheat. Eat the occasional meatless meal or cut back on dairy to do your bit.

3. Slash your food waste. In Abu Dhabi, each person produces an average of 1.73 kg of food waste a day. Only buy what you will use and cook what you will eat.

AJMAN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES,  October 23, 2012. The Ramada Hotel in Ajman recycles 90% of its waste. They segregate the waste from the rooms and kitchens. Dividing the plastic, glass and metal out for recycling while they also compost all kitchen waste and food scraps into a composting machine.  that turns the food waste into fertilizer in a matter of hours. Food being precessed for composting in the "green room'. (ANTONIE ROBERTSON / The National)
Don't buy more than you can eat. Antonie Robertson / The National

4. Wash vegetables in a bowl instead of using a running tap. For bonus points, try steaming them instead of boiling.

5. Buy less. It takes 12,000 litres of water to make your smartphone and 20,000 litres of water to produce one kilogramme of cotton. That’s the equivalent to one T-shirt and a pair of jeans.

6. Let your car get dusty. This may be the land of the shining SUV but consider this: the average hose uses six litres of water every second. A ten minute car wash takes 378 litres of water.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - - -  September 29, 2016 ---  A Honda Pilot covered in dirt and slapped with tickets sit in a parking lot near the Al Munda Primary School in Abu Dhabi. Some residents are being fined and their cars being towed away for as a result of dirty and or abandoned cars being left in parking lots around Abu Dhabi.   ( DELORES JOHNSON / The National )  
ID: 86356
Reporter: Anwar
Section: NA *** Local Caption ***  DJ-290916-Abandoned Cars-86356-010.jpg
Let your car get dusty - but not too dusty. Delores Johnson / The National

7. Reuse your towel. Do you need a fresh towel after every shower?

8. Launder well. Washing one load of laundry uses far less water than two half loads. Old washers can use up to 170 litres a load. Buying an efficient water could cut this down to 19 litres.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates -- Ecover liquid and washing tables are arranged on a washing machine in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, September 4, 2010. For a story by Ann Marie McQueen on green laundry detergents. Liz Claus / The National
Put on one full wash rather than two half washes. Liz Claus / The National

9. Throw rubbish in the bin. The toilet bowl is not your rubbish bin. Every flushes uses between nine to 12 litres of water.

10. Cut out plastics. You’ll not only stop adding to the mountain of plastics filling the earth, you’ll be saving a lot of water. It takes 5.6 litres of water to make a single plastic bottle. Those plastic bags? They add up too.

Bonus: Invest ethically. Academic research from 2013 found that corporations control an estimate five per cent of the water the world uses annually. When corporations buy farmland, they are often buying the rights to freshwater in poverty stricken areas. When you buy, and when you invest, think about what you are supporting.