Water 'more valuable than oil'
BIG 5: United Arab Emirates should now be looking at conserving 'blue gold' as a priority.
A UK water meter manufacturer has warned the Middle East that the continued growth is placing an immense strain on regional water resources.
"As the region continues to grow, the expansion is straining water resources," said Garrick Burchell, sales and marketing director for Elster Metering.
"Water will be the critical commodity in the future and will be more valuable than oil. We've talked about 'black gold' but really we should be looking to the new 'blue gold'."
The ISO 14001 certified company has been trading in the Gulf region for over 50 years and distributes worldwide.
In light of the forthcoming green regulations, export sales manager Andy Newland said: "Water conservation is crucial in implementing green standards."
In a region famed for its exuberance of consumption, the concept of conserving water stands out.
"Whenever water metering is introduced into a country, there's always initial difficulty in public acceptance," added Newland.
"The UAE is ahead of Europe and other parts of the world because people here have been used to having mandatory water meters for years."
Water meters help with consumption management in three ways, added Burchell.
"Firstly, they can help detect where there are leaks in the system, reducing the amount of water lost needlessly. Secondly, they help manage demand. Overall consumption drops between 10-15% once water is metered. Thirdly, the money raised through metered billing can then be reinvested into better infrastructure, reducing overall waste."
Elster's latest product, Wavelook, received its prototype launch at Big 5 on Wednesday. A digital receiver communicates with the customer's water meter up to four times a day via radio waves to show exactly how much water has been used.
"This sort of thing needs to happen globally," added Newland.
"Wavelook is an 'enabling technology' that helps customers to be more environmentally responsible. It acts as a reminder that it's good to save water."