Abu Dhabi, UAE, April 16, 2015 – Representatives from the United Arab Emirates’ delegation to the 7th World Water Forum in the Republic of Korea briefed international media on the vital water challenges the UAE faces and how the country is addressing the issue through a mix of policy, innovation and technology solutions.
The panel, headed by HE Dr Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Permanent Representative of the UAE to IRENA and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Directorate of Energy and Climate Change, drew media from the Republic of Korea, India, the Middle East, and Europe and included representatives from the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD), Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company, the National Centre of Meteorology & Seismology, and Masdar. Dr. Al Zeyoudi set the scene for the discussion by outlining the UAE’s approach to water security and emphasising its importance to the nation.
To commence the discussion, Dr. Al Zeyoudi commented, “As a country in an arid climate with a rapidly growing population, our leadership has set an ambitious target to reduce our water consumption by 30 per cent, by 2030. As you will hear today, this is a goal we are committed to achieve through a mix of conservation practices, innovative technology solutions, policies, and partnerships with the global community.”
Dr. Mohamed Al Madfaei, Executive Director of the Integrated Environment Policy and Planning Sector and Dr. Mohamed Dawoud Director of Water Resources Management, both from EAD shared the UAE’s commitment to advance and adopt innovative technological solutions to enhance the availability of potable water, such as renewable energy powered desalination and advanced hydroponics techniques.
Omar Al Hashimi, Projects division director at Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company highlighted STEP, Abu Dhabi’s Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Programme, which when completed in 2016, will be one of the largest gravity-driven hydraulic wastewater network tunnels in the world.
Masdar’ Mohammad El Ramahi shared the company’s innovative solution to decrease costs and the environmental impact of desalination, Masdar’s renewable energy powered desalination pilot programme. The pilot project, launched in January 2013 and currently under construction in Ghantoot, Abu Dhabi, will aim to identify industrial-scale and commercially viable desalination technologies to address sustainable access to water.
Ms Alya Al Mazroui of the National Centre of Meteorology & Seismology presented the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science. The initiative is a first of its kind grant programme that promotes research and development to enhance rainfall yields and in turn, freshwater supplies.
Managed by the World Water Council, the World Water Forum brings together government leaders, decision makers, scientific experts spanning public and private sectors, academia and industry to drive international discussions on global water challenges.
The UAE delegation to the 7th World Water Forum was organised by Masdar. The delegation includes representatives from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Environment and Water, Federal Electricity and Water Authority, Executive Affairs Authority, National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Regulation and Supervision Bureau, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and the United Arab Emirates University.