Abu Dhabi Utility Uses Model to Forecast Water Demand

The Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Company (ADWEC) has been using @RISK from Palisade Corporation for several years to help forecast water demand until 2030.

Abu Dhabi relies almost completely on desalinated seawater for its potable water requirements. The desalination process is challenging in terms of operation, costs, and environmental impact. ADWEC must forecast as accurately as possible the demand for water and electricity across the Emirate in order to plan for the optimum expansion as well as the efficient and effective use of water production plants.

Required by the Regulation and Supervision Bureau, the regulatory body of Abu Dhabi, to use a risk-based methodology to assess the water demand and required capacity, ADWEC selected @RISK from Palisade in 2006. The program has enabled ADWEC to model all feasible uncertainties in the variables that determine the quantity of water required over specific timescales, such as per capita water consumption rates and the rate of population growth.

The variables input into the model are based on the water demand categories such as domestic, agricultural and industrial. Factors with inherent uncertainties that affect the demand forecast outcome and must be modeled include: seasonal variation, distillers’ unplanned outages, water losses, population growth rates and demand for housing.

By undertaking risk analysis of the variables involved in assessing demand and supply, ADWEC minimizes the potential for water production capacity to be over- or under-deployed. While over-production capacity is expensive, at the other end of the scale it is essential that Abu Dhabi has sufficient water production capacity to support the Abu Dhabi government development plan (Abu Dhabi Plan 2030).

Mohammad Al-Hajjiri, head of the Water Forecasting section in ADWEC’s Planning and Studies Directorate, explains: “In Abu Dhabi, potable water is a scarce resource and we depend on seawater desalination for producing it. So we need to plan its production carefully. @RISK, which is easy to use and provides us with a comprehensive set of tools, enables us to be confident in our forecasts. The high degree of accuracy it enables ensures that we provide a reliable and cost-effective source of potable water over a wide range of demand scenarios.”