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Suqia awards $1 million for global water crisis solution in Dubai

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on January 29, 2020
Suqia awards $1 million for global water crisis solution in Dubai

(KT/Neeraj Murali)

The award honours people, entities who have dedicated their efforts to address water scarcity.

At the second edition of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award on Wednesday, 10 winners from eight countries shared the prize money of $1 million for their innovative projects to help nearly one billion people who do not have access to clean, safe water.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council, presented the awards at a ceremony held at Madinat Jumeirah.

The award was instituted by the UAE Water Foundation (Suqia) to encourage and recognise innovative organisations, individuals and youth from around the world, who have dedicated their efforts to developing sustainable and innovative solutions that address water scarcity in poor communities worldwide.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Suqia, said: "Suqia, under the umbrella of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI), continues its efforts in providing safe drinking water to communities suffering from water scarcity and pollution. It has helped over nine million people in 36 countries through its 1,000 plus projects."

Speaking about the selection process of the winners, Mohammed Abdulkareem Al Shamsi, acting-executive director of Suqia, told Khaleej Times: "This year, we received 96 applications and shortlisted those that fit the criteria of the award. For example, small project award had a criteria that the clean drinking water should be generated using solar energy, the cost of the project should be under $1 million, and the purified water should match WHO standards in terms of salinity."

The award ceremony was attended by Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment; Dr. Hamad bin Sheikh Ahmed Al Shaibani, Director-General of the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai; directors of government departments, ambassadors, consuls general, public figures, officials from the public and private sectors, local and international universities and research centres, and students from national and international universities.

The winners:

Innovative Projects Award - Small Projects

First: GivePower Foundation (USA)

Second: Boreal Light GmBH (Germany)

Third: International Business Ventures (IBV) (UAE) & Zero Mass Water (USA)

Innovative Research & Development Award - International Institutions

First: Liquinex (Singapore)

Second: Plasma Waters (Chile)

Third: Project Maji (Ghana)

Innovative Research & Development Award - National Institutions

First: Khalifa University (UAE) - Dr Banu Yildiz

Innovative Individual Award - Youth Award

Jan Radel (Germany)

Muhammad Wakil Shahzad (Pakistan)

Innovative Individual Award - Distinguished Researcher Award

Mahmoud Shatat (Palestine)

Meet the winners who change lives

>> German national Jan Radel, who won in the innovative individual award youth category, said he started installing small drinking water plants in Tanzania, where one plant provides clean drinking water to roughly 500 people every day.

"We have three plants now and I will be commissioning the fourth one in a few days. The concept of my project called Jadi Maji is to collect rain water, store it underground, purify it with modern technology using solar power and to make it available during hot and dry months."

>> From the Republic of Ghana, Project Maji was awarded the third place in the innovative research and development award category. The project deploys solar-based water kiosks with multiple taps in rural Africa. Sunil Lalvani, founder and CEO of Project Maji, said: "Wep make low-cost water tanks that cost only about $10-15 for a person in the village. We pump up water from the ground to a tank that is powered by solar panel. So far, we have more than 50 installations across Ghana and Kenya and each of our installation serves about a thousand people. We have a target to reach a million people by 2025 and 10 million people by 2030."

>> Dr Mahmoud Shatat from Palestine won the prize for distinguished researcher at the global water award for his solar water desalination process.

"Water desalination process consumes a lot of energy, so my innovation and research is to reduce the energy requirement for water purification and I aim to link this technology with alternative/renewable sustainable energy - solar energy."

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