Water conservation is religious duty

Muslims urged to heed government call to reduce waste.

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ABU DHABI // Muslims have a religious duty to conserve water, worshippers at the country's mosques will be told today. "Let us conserve water as it is an invaluable treasure, and the country is doing a great deal to conserve it so we should value these efforts by not wasting it," the sermon says. This effort from the pulpit to encourage conservation coincides with a Dh13 million initiative by local authorities to reduce water usage in the capital, which is thought to be among the highest in the world.

The Watersavers campaign, launched last month by the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD), will see the installation of tens of thousands of water-saving devices in houses throughout the emirate over the next three years. On average, Abu Dhabi residents use 550 litres of water per day. "Of course, in Islam, conservation of water is a very important issue. God said: 'We made from water every living thing'," said Dr Mohamed Dawoud, a manager at the EAD, adding that addressing the issue from a religious point of view would help his agency's efforts resonate with the public.

"If you talk from a religious perspective in our society they accept the issue in a better way and it leaves an impression on their psyche," he said. "Servants of Allah, we have been ordered to treat well everything around us - the environment we live in, whether land or space, plants and air, seas and rivers, trees, animals and birds," the sermon adds. Dr Dawoud said many people do not value water, seeing it as merely a "cheap commodity" that is subsidised by the Government. "They don't know that behind it a desalination process for instance which requires massive infrastructure, uses a lot of energy and has high environmental impact, affects the marine ecosystem and produces emissions," he said.

"People don't know that it is manufactured, that it is an artificial resource that the Government is spending a lot of effort to get and people need to have awareness as to where it is coming from," he said. The General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments drafts Friday sermons for delivery across the country.