ABU DHABI ó Demand for power and water in the Middle East is expected to skyrocket over the next ten years as rapid economic development, construction and tourism place an increased burden on the region's infrastructure, experts averred.
Without an effective infrastructure strategy in place, countries could face power shortfalls and blackouts in the future, hampering development and pushing living standards down.
The implications of these challenges, the move toward privatisation and regulatory controls, will be analysed during the second Middle East Power and Water Conference, to be held in Abu Dhabi from March 21 to 23.
"The power and water industry is key to ensuring the continued economic prosperity of countries across the region," said Ranald Spiers, chief executive officer Middle East and Africa, International Power. "However, the predicted levels of development in the Middle East will place an increased strain on power and water supplies in years to come, which makes it essential that the industry develops a viable strategy today."
"The challenge for everyone, at the government, industry, and organisational level, is to ensure that we have the plans and policies in place now to meet these future requirements," added Spiers, who will speak at the three-day conference.
The status of two major Independent Water and Power Projects (IWPP) in Saudi Arabia will be analysed during the conference. The multi-billion dollar Shoaiba and Marafiq IWPPs are currently under construction and are a key part of the kingdom's progressive power strategy.
Other topics for discussion will include financing water and power projects across the region, an overview of the developer and contractor markets, and private sector participation in wastewater projects.
Delegates will also participate in country-specific case studies and panel discussions, with Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Qatar and Oman all being examined.