There seems to be a bit of a push to conserve water and energy here in Abu Dhabi. I don't know if it's a recent thing or if they just get on a kick every so often and start a push to conserve energy. I'm guessing it had something to do with the the recent energy summit that was held in Abu Dhabi a few weeks ago. Recently I've been noticing signs around town telling people to be "Heroes of the UAE" along with a website address. The site itself is very genuine and well constructed to encourage people to conserve water and energy. I just have a hard time believing it has been very effective.
I think that it's a noble cause, especially since the U.A.E. has the world's largest per capita carbon footprint and most of that is due to all the desalination of water that the U.A.E. does. The problem with the whole thing as I see it is that there's no talk of reducing the water consumption of the dozens of fountains in the city or in reducing the water that is used in the acres of immaculately landscaped green space in the city. And does the country really need thousands of date palms along the highway medians of all the highways going throughout the U.A.E.? Sure, it looks nice, but I would imagine those require a lot of water, too.
I'm happy to turn the temperature up on the air conditioner or take a shorter shower, but I resent doing so when Dubai runs a 400-meter indoor ski resort and a huge water park not to mention an aquarium in every hotel and shopping mall. While I was on the bus tour a few weeks ago, one of the stats that was given was that Abu Dhabi "has made the desert green" and it uses 25 million liters of water a day to do so. The was said with an air of pride that I found a bit annoying.
Speaking of making the desert green, Abu Dhabi is working on creating a green city. While the intention is to create the world's first zero-carbon emission city, one gets the feeling that a "green" city doesn't evoke the same feeling from the people planning it. I heard through the rumor mill (take the following with a grain of salt), that the planners were shocked at the suggestion from experts that no cars would be allowed. Further, they went on a fact finding mission to get ideas for the landscaping and were surprised to hear that the water that would need to be desalinated to create the lush "green" landscape in the city would keep the city from being "green" in the non-carbon emission sense.
While the will is there, it seems that there needs to be a basic change in attitude that may take a while. I do give the Emiratis points for trying even if the concept is lost.