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Eye of Riyadh
Environment & Energy | Wednesday 2 November, 2016 2:56 pm |

GCC Cities Demonstrate Leadership in Water Security

The GCC’s successful record of overcoming extreme water scarcity in one of the driest parts of the world will be a cornerstone of the fifth International Water Summit (IWS), to be held in Abu Dhabi in January 2017.


All 21 countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are expected to fall below the World Health Organization’s “water poverty line” of 1,000 annual cubic metres per person by 2030, according to a recent report by the World Resources Institute and GE.


Federal Electricity and Water Authority data shows that UAE per capita consumption is around 500 litres per day, around 82 percent above the global average. According to the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, consumption is around 26 times the natural supply.


However, the GCC region has consistently used innovative technology – particularly in its pioneering use of desalination – to ensure secure urban water supplies despite high levels of demand. As a result, the region has amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience in this vital area, at a time when water scarcity is recognised as one of the world’s biggest challenges. According to United Nations statistics, by 2025 two-thirds of the world's population could be living under water stressed conditions.


As demand for domestic, agricultural and industrial uses continues to grow, the UAE and other GCC states continue to offer a prime market for innovations that can increase supply and reduce waste, while also considering broader sustainability issues. These include more efficient desalination of seawater such as using solar energy to power desalination plants, reducing losses in the distribution network, improved irrigation methods for agriculture, and better treatment and use of recycled waste water.


IWS will support MENA water sustainability and business deals, running under the theme of “Promoting Sustainable Water in Arid Regions”, as a signature event of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017. IWS is hosted by Masdar in strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority.


“Demand for energy and the pressing need for sustainable supplies of water are inseparable challenges,” said Mohamed Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar. “This is particularly true in the Middle East, where substantial and increasing power capacity is required for seawater desalination.


“Masdar is at the forefront of innovation in clean energy and water, both as a founding member of the Global Clean Water Desalination Alliance, and through our direct investment in R&D such as the Ghantoot Desalination pilot project here in the UAE, which is testing energy-efficient, renewables-based technologies. We believe industry collaboration and knowledge sharing are vital in order to drive progress and support widespread adoption of sustainable solutions. The International Water Summit has established itself as an outstanding platform for achieving this, and we’re looking forward to its fifth year in 2017.”


At the event, attendees can experience the latest solutions and industry insights in water efficiency and desalination, wastewater treatment, and managing the water demand in a largely arid environment among exhibitors, investors, contractors, and government agencies.


IWS 2016 hosted over 10,000 attendees and 185 exhibiting companies from 111 countries.


The IWS 2016 Conference programme saw 300 delegates and 75 expert speakers exchanging knowledge and best practices in finding solutions to the water challenges facing the region. The IWS Conferences cultivated dialogue across the public, private, and academic sectors through plenary presentations, workshops, debates, and forums.


Supporting home-grown entrepreneurs, the live competition Innovate@IWS will return with a panel of distinguished judges awarding the most promising water technologies. Last edition’s winners included Echologics, which uses acoustics to pinpoint pipe leaks, Vienna Water Monitoring Solutions, which measures microbiological contamination in 15 minutes, and Savage Showers, which can save 90 percent of water and energy compared with conventional showers.


Exhibitors and attendees can find a dedicated networking forum at the IWS TechTalk stage, with over 40 expert presentations and case studies on the latest water sustainability technology.


The Business Connect programme will return to foster business development among the public and private sectors. At IWS 2016, Business Connect facilitated 1,530 meetings with 386 executives from 320 companies and 38 countries, including Egypt, India, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, and Pakistan.


IWS 2017 will be co-located with the World Future Energy Summit and EcoWaste exhibitions.

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