The UAE Water Aid Campaign : Saving lives, one drop at a time


How often do you access clean water every day? When you wake up in the morning, you refresh yourself with a cool shower, brush your teeth and rinse them with running water, quench your thirst with ice cold bottled water.

Each time you go to the bathroom, you clean your hands with water and soap. Before you eat, you wash away the dirt and germs. In the sweltering heat of the summer, you take a dip in the pool to cool off.

Imagine a life without water. Imagine if your only access to water was at dirty lakes and streams. To get clean water, you must walk miles and carry the great weight back. You have to choose whether to drink, wash, or cook with the precious little water you have.

For 748 million people all over the world, this is a daily reality. That’s one tenth of the world’s population – they simply don’t have access to clean water. One third of the world’s population (2.5 billion people) don’t have access to adequate sanitation. That means they’re constantly exposed to the risk of life-threatening disease. 500,000 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water.

Usually, it’s the job of women and girls to collect water and bring it home. Often, this involves carrying buckets of water, which may even be the equivalent of their own body weight, for miles and miles in scorching heat across tough terrain. The time and effort it takes to collect clean water has a hugely negative impact on communities’ abilities to work or get an education. If you spend hours of your day collecting water, there’s precious little time left for anything else.Unfortunately, this is a reality for countries across the underdeveloped world, from Zambia to Rwanda, to Bangladesh.

We’re all guilty of taking that precious drop of water for granted. But there’s also a lot we can do. And the UAE has been working hard to provide clean water for millions of people around the globe.

Since 2009, the UAE Water Aid Campaign has raised over 180 million dirhams for water projects in 61 countries. Over 7 million people in underdeveloped countries have been provided access to clean drinking water as a result of the generous donations of UAE citizens, rulers, residents and organisations.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, donated a huge 25 million dirhams to the campaign on behalf of the citizens of the UAE, and residents of the UAE followed his example by giving generously through a text-message campaign – a huge 8.8 million dirhams!

The money raised contributes towards water projects that provide access to safe, clean drinking water. Agriculture and hydroelectric power schemes are also supported by such campaigns. The UAE’s Water Aid Campaign has funded the building of 600 water wells across Africa. Funds also contribute towards hygiene programmes, which aim to reduce the spread of disease.

It’s easy for us to forget how fortunate we are to have constant access to a necessity such as clean water. But we must remember that for many people around the world, this basic need is actually a luxury. If we can afford to, it’s a great idea to donate to campaigns such as Water Aid. However, we can also contribute by simply using our water resources responsibly. A five-minute power shower can use up to 60 litres of water. Imagine walking miles to collect 20 litres of water, which weighs 20 kilos – your quick morning shower is three times this amount!

Taking shorter showers, turning off the tap whilst you brush your teeth and cutting down on visits to the car wash, are simple ways to be more conscious about your water use.

So, next time you reach for that ice cold bottle of water, remember how precious every drop really is.

To donate to Water Aid, or to read more about the UAE’s Water Aid Campaign, go to or