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United Arab Emirates Table of Contents

United Arab Emirates

Electricity and Water

The demands of a rapidly growing population and a developing industrial base have necessitated a concomitantly speedy expansion of the capacity to provide electrical power and potable water. As in other areas, Abu Dhabi and Dubayy have had the funds to provide public utilities at a faster pace than the northern amirates. When the UAE was formed and the Ministry of Electricity and Water created, Abu Dhabi, Dubayy, Sharjah, and Ras al Khaymah had their own electric companies. The creation of the federation has seen some progress in unifying the national electrical grid and assisting the smaller amirates with power and water supply.

Abu Dhabi's generating capacity expanded from eight megawatts in 1973 to 845 megawatts in 1982. One study found that between 1973 and 1982, Abu Dhabi's demand for electricity expanded by 25 percent per year, while Dubayy's grew by 15 percent per year. The other amirates were not as well supplied with electricity and needed additional generating capacity. Sharjah and Ras al Khaymah suffered power disruptions in 1983 because of overloaded facilities. By 1988 installed generating capacity for the entire UAE had risen to 3,850 megawatts, up from 1,724 megawatts in 1979.

Unable to meet demand from natural sources of freshwater, the UAE has had to use desalination plants, many of which run in tandem with power stations. In 1985 there were twenty-two desalination plants in the amirates. Water production in 1989 amounted to about 327 billion liters, up from about 312 billion liters in 1987.

Data as of January 1993