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Making Every Drop Count


Companies across UAE have adopted myriad methods to minimise water usage in their cleaning techniques.... By Zenifer Khaleel


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May 9, 2018
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Making Every Drop Count

Due to its very arid climate, UAE is amongst the topmost water-scarce countries in the world. Hence, the onus is upon companies to reduce the usage of this precious resource in their cleaning techniques, without compromising on quality.

Clean Middle East takes a look at a few organisations who have applied effective water conservation in their working operations.


Emrill Services LLC employs close to 8000 staff and operates throughout the UAE from offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. They have prestigious clients like Emaar, Meraas, Wasl Properties, Dubai Airports and Dubai Healthcare City in their portfolio “The industry-first techniques developed by Emrill not only met our own sustainability objectives, but have set new standards in effective, highly-structured programmes for the entire FM and MEP professions in UAE,” says Stuart Harrison, Technical Director of Emrill.

Sustainability is at the core of Emrill’s future strategy and industry-leading objectives. UAE’s first Energy Performance Contract (EPC) project initiated by Emrill resulted in building energy savings of millions of Dirhams annually. “It has been reported that approximately 20% of water usage throughout the UAE and abroad is lost through community system water leakages, many of which are avoidable,” says Harrisson. Emrill’s pilot scheme, called the ‘Emrill Community Water Leakage Reduction Programme’, was developed and tested on the infrastructure (sewerage/ storm/ irrigation) systems of Jumeirah Golf Estate in Dubai, which started in 2016.

The specialist technological equipment included:

  • Underground leak detection equipment and CCTV equipment (for sewage) to rapidly identify root cause problems
  • Ultrasonic flow meters used to replace regular electromagnetic pipe flow meters without the need to cut GRP pipes (>450mm dia), eliminating high replacement and installation costs.
  • Implementation of ‘high pressure telescopic jet pole’ for cleaning street lights instead of traditional 4-ton vehicle and tripod, saving 30% water consumption
  • New hydraulic manhole lifters used in place of manhole chamber keys, requiring 50% less manpower

“As a result, we managed to reduce irrigation leakages by 70%, sewerage overflows by over 50% and average rectification time to under 24 hours. Major improvement in community lake water quality were acknowledged by both clients and residents," said Harrison.

The implementation of a specially-customised Rain Management Plan had minimal impact on residents. We also enforced 24/7 safe working practice principles,” he adds. “In 2017, the total volume of water saved from previous year’s leakages was 162,000 USG, with total cost saving to the client amounting to AED500, 000. This is equivalent to over 8,100 showers saved on this one project alone,” he adds.

In 2017, they developed water conservation and specialist MEP techniques including

  • Optimisation of wet well/bore well usage through timer installation
  • Introduction of biologically safe products for lake water management
  • Increased use of re-useable lake algae collection plastic bags
  • Installation of remote real-time monitoring systems to track and monitor water tank/lake levels
  • Implementation of new Rain Management Plan with proactive measures for lake level and storm drain network management
  • Historical information used for identifying hot spots with interim solution implementation

“Moving forward, Emrill is seeking to roll out its Community Water Leakage Reduction Programme to more sites and client projects throughout the UAE,” says Stewart.


Hilton is a leading global hospitality company, spanning the lodging sector from luxury and full-service hotels and resorts to extended-stay suites and focused-service hotels. The company’s portfolio includes fourteen world-class global brands.

“TRAVEL WITH PURPOSETM, is Hilton’s corporate responsibility commitment to providing shared value to its business and communities by creating opportunities for individuals to reach their full potential; strengthening communities where Hilton operates; and preserving environments through the measurement, analysis and improvement of the company’s use of natural resources,” explains Kishore Pemmasani, Executive Housekeeper of Hilton Dubai, The Walk.

As an end user, the techniques implemented by Hilton have helped them reduce water conservation by 166,122 litres per year. “Since 2011, we have been using Jon master micro fibre complete system of dusters. This has helped in reducing water by 13 litres per room cleaned. It is equal to water of 455 litres per day. The initial start-up cost was recuperated after 18 months,” explains Pemmasani. Hilton has a long term initiative of changing linen once in every 3 days for stay over guests. This impacts in huge reduction of millions of water gallons, along with reduction in chemicals on massive scale across Hilton brand.

In 2017, they implemented another best practice of replacing staff lockers taps with automatic self-closing tapes. It reduced 50% for the water flow from 10 liters per minute to 5 litres per minute; plus variable savings from less duration team usage as it’s adjusted to close every 6 secs. “On an average, this is almost saving of 1 million litre of water over a year in a property, if 250 team members use the wash basin twice a day,” says Pemmasani. Yet another system is the one flush policy during guest room cleaning, which prevents the loss of additional 6 litres per extra flush. “For a hotel with 800 bath rooms, with an average occupancy of 90%, the water consumption is reduced by 700 K litres in a year,” says Pemmasani.


Established in the UAE since 1980, Farnek Middle East LLC is an international full service property management company with a skilled workforce of more than 4,000 employees. According to their Director of Consultancy Sandrine Le Biavant, all stakeholders should be informed and educated about the importance of water conservation.

As a consultant company, Farnek offers the following tips for buildings

  • Reduce the flow of the taps with aerators or sensors
  • Reduce the flushing volume of water in the toilets by having two levels of flush or sensors
  • Waterless urinals will save 100% of the urinals water consumption.
  • Fix Water leakage as a high priority
  • Set Green Cleaning standards to your FM teams that include the right water efficient equipment in Cleaning and MEP services and the adequate planning of scheduled cleaning activities requiring water applicable to a large surface that use high pressure water (wall cleaning, parking cleaning)
  • Review the length of the backwash of pools or fountains
  • Shift from fresh water for irrigation to Treated Sewage Effluent water from the municipality
  • Consider irrigation reduction methods like scheduling review or soil additives
  • Use native plants to save up to 50% water
  • Make fast decision on FM / Energy Auditors recommendations
  • Construction can consume a lot of water and contractors need to be made aware on water conservation.
  • Install grey water system in sites where it is possible to use for irrigation
  • Reuse of condensate water from chillers into irrigation

“By adopting water conservation techniques, the good news is that most of the solutions are either low cost or have quick returns, in under two years in some instances. However, it is important to work with water efficiency consultants to analyse the consumption trends and understand the systems and identify the opportunities for saving water in each building,” concludes Le Biavant.