The future of water and energy management in Abu Dhabi

The BP-funded Foreseer technology is helping Abu Dhabi with modelling to support sustainable water and energy management

Abu Dhabi’s Vision 2030 plan projects that the emirate’s economy will almost quadruple in size, and its population will increase to as much as five million people, by 2030. The Abu Dhabi Regulation and Supervision Bureau, the authority that regulates the emirate’s water, wastewater and electricity sector, recognised the associated challenges and sought to give policy-makers a more comprehensive long-term view of energy and water usage in the emirate.

The Bureau partnered with BP in 2014 to model demands on energy and water resources until 2030, using the newly developed Foreseer tool.

The Foreseer™ tool

Foreseer is a modelling tool that creates a visualisation of natural resource life cycles and their interconnectivity in the context of future demand scenarios, technology improvements and policy choices in a region of interest.

The University of Cambridge developed Foreseer through BP’s Energy Sustainability Challenge (ESC), a research programme involving 15 universities that is looking at the potential effects of natural resource scarcities, including land, water, and minerals, on patterns of energy supply and demand. The programme recognises the increasing socio-economic risks and potential business impacts from competing pressures on the natural resources used in the energy sector.

The Abu-Dhabi project

The Foreseer tool will provide Abu Dhabi’s policy-makers with valuable insights into the complex relationships between energy, land and water, and support them in their decision-making processes to facilitate sustainable development.

The project has provided analyses of:
  • Current and future water use up to 2030 - under different future scenarios, mostly focused on the increase/decrease of the agriculture sector's water use.
  • Cumulative groundwater use over time - under these same scenarios.
  • Current and future energy use up to 2030 - including new energy supplies, such as the large scale availability of nuclear and renewable energy, and different scenarios of energy use for the water sector, for example desalination, recycling and better irrigation methods.
The first project results were delivered to the Bureau in December 2014. These gave Abu Dhabi a preliminary visualisation of the energy-water relationships in the forestry, agricultural, industrial and urban sectors, revealing the dominant factors in the draw-down of regional ground water reserves.

BP has been present in the emirate since the 1930s. We currently have a joint venture arrangement with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, and shareholdings in several other companies in the emirate.

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