Academy launched in capital to focus on water resources

ABU DHABI - The Arab Water Academy (Awa) was launched in Abu Dhabi by Egypt's Arab Water Council, in partnership with the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) and Dubai-based International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (Icba).


Silvia Radan

Published: Sun 6 Jul 2008, 8:24 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 6:06 PM

The Academy will not be a higher education institution per se, with accredited programmes for under or postgraduates, although this status may come at a later date.

According to Dr Mahmoud Abu Zeid, Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation and President of Arab Water Council, Awa aims to train leaders and professionals in water management from the economic, political and technology perspectives.

"In recent times we have witnessed significant increase in population leading to more demand on water engineering's increased capacity to explore new water resources. This resulted in degradation of water quality and the future is bringing another challenge - climate change which will create more water scarcity, thus making water harder to manage," said Dr Abu Zeid.

Furthermore, the Middle East and North Africa region have the lowest level of annual renewable water resources per capita and the highest of degradation of water quality and quantity. The instability in the region and the fact that around 60 per cent of Middle East's water flows across international borders necessitates careful security considerations and cross-border policy analysis.

"The academy will focus on the water issues in the Arab world," pointed out Dr Rashid Ahmed bin Fahd, Minister of Environment and Water. These issues include the scarcity of water, rapidly dwindling groundwater reserves and the growing gap between water demand and supply.

Initially, the Academy will be hosted by EAD and it will offer either intensive (one or two-week duration) or internship (2-6 months) programmes. The trainers, materials, details of the programmes and starting dates are not yet established, although the organisers are planning to have everything up and running by this autumn.

Awa has received $1 million from the Abu Dhabi government and $300,000 from the World Bank while a sum of around $200,000 has been promised by the Islamic Development Bank. The academy will not charge any tuition fees.

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