Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Policy (MPP)


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Clara Morgan

Second Advisor

Dr. Abdulfattah Yaghi

Third Advisor

Professor Waleed Khalil Zubari


In the recent past, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has seen tremendous economic growth, which has put pressure on its existing natural resources. Hence, the government of the UAE is working extensively on developing a strategic framework for sustainable water management. This study is aimed at analyzing the challenges to the governance of water security in the UAE. Evidence was collected from nine semi-structured interviews with senior officials and academics from different government agencies in the UAE. Quantitative data was collected on water consumption in the UAE in various sectors from a range of authorities (FCSA, DSC, MOENR, ADWEA, DEWA, SEWA and FEWA). The data and the results of this research show alarming water consumption rates by various sectors of the UAE. UAE’s water consumption rate is four times above the average world consumption rate.

Key recommendations focus on improving the effectiveness, efficiency and trust and engagement in the governance of water security in the UAE. Recommendations include a Unified Water Strategy, centralizing data collection, reducing water leakage, researching new technologies for water desalination plants, establishing a common regulation and legislative framework, continuing with water subsidy reductions, and building awareness through information dissemination, educational programs for farmers and incentive programs.

Although the UAE is viewed as one single entity by interviewees, the data is dispersed and not managed under a single authority leading to mismanagement of scarce water resources. Good governance certainly needs effective data management. The situation of the UAE is similar to other GCC countries. This sheds light on the fact that the entire GCC region can unite as one single unit in terms of water and electricity production and usage.