By Rupert Cornford
Municipality promises to oversee the installation of specified low water-usage plumbing devices
Dubai Municipality is calling on consultants to specify low water-usage plumbing during the design phase of building projects in a bid to reduce water consumption across the city.
“The rational use of water is an important step we have to take for the benefit of future generations,” said Khaled Mohammed Saleh, director of the building department, Dubai Municipality.
“Our own lives depend heavily on how much water we save for the future. The idea here is to design and implement new buildings that help save as much water as possible.”
And the municipality has said that it will take responsibility for ensuring that standards and specifications are met during both the licensing and construction stages, which has been welcomed by consultants.
“Any effort to reduce water consumption is welcome, and this is a step in the right direction. There are a number of things that can be designed and installed which will consume less water than traditional installations,” said Jeff Willis, principal, Arup.
But he warned that a rigid system would have to be implemented in order for the right equipment to be installed.
“There could be an additional cost related to some of these [specifications], so the whole process needs to be enforceable and enforced to ensure they are carried through to the end of the project.”
“A consultant can write a specification but in order not to be prescriptive or restrictive then he will have to say ‘like this or other equal and approved’.
“So the guy who ends up making the approval is the client. You can start off with something good but then the contractor may offer a cheaper alternative.”
Willis added that any guidlines to reduce water could go beyond plumbing devices.
“I think that such measures should go further to encourage the installation of systems to reclaim grey water for re-use within buildings.”
“And wastage of water, of course depends upon the user, and if the users are not educated and encouraged to change their habits, many measures will have little effect. The best way to do this is to increase the cost of water. If it costs people more money to use they would use less.”
Statistics from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority show that, during 2004, total water consumption in the city equalled 243.2 million m3.