UAE launches 3 desalination projects to boost water security

Engineer Suhail Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure. Supplied photos
Engineer Suhail Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure. Supplied photos

Dubai - Turning adversity on its head lies in enhancing regional, international cooperation in water-related activities, says minister during Arab Water Forum

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Saman Haziq

Published: Tue 21 Sep 2021, 5:16 PM

Arab countries are home to 6 per cent of the world’s population but has less than 2 per cent of renewable water supply, according to a report by the World Bank. Growing demand of water, climate change, increase in population, and the scarcity of resources, has led to an even greater water shortage in the Mena region that includes 12 Arab countries - the driest countries in the world.

The opportunity to turn this adversity on its head lies in enhancing regional and international cooperation in water-related activities and programmes, stressed a UAE minister at the 5th Arab Water Forum (AWF5) held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Dubai on Tuesday. The forum comes at a time when the region is facing the problem of acute water scarcity, which has reached a critical level with the increased demand for clean water due to the growing population.

The forum titled - Arab Water Security for Peace and Sustainable Development - saw the presence of more than 600 delegates, participants from 22 Arab countries, pledging their strong commitment to water security for peace and sustainable development in the Arab world. The three-day conference focuses on water scarcity in the Arab World, depleting water resources and ways and means to generate water from sustainable sources.

UAE to set up 3 desalination projects

Inaugurating the forum, Engineer Suhail Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, announced that to support the water sector and tackle challenges related to water scarcity, the UAE is developing three water desalination projects in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Umm Al Quwain with a combined capacity of 420 million imperial gallons per day (MIGD) that will be completed by 2023. These will raise the water desalination capacity of the UAE to 1,590 MIGD – and help strengthen UAE’s water security, he said.

In his inaugural speech at the forum, Suhail Al Mazrouei said: “Water is an essential pillar of sustainability, which makes it a strategic priority of the UAE. The Arab Water Forum is a leading platform for cooperation and collaboration to support the water sector and strengthen efforts to address challenges related to water scarcity…The worsening global climate change and the increase in future demand for water have forced us to undertake more initiatives, dialogue, reflection and joint work to build future capabilities to meet these challenges and overcome.”

The conference is hosting 25 government ministers and undersecretaries representing 22 Arab countries, high government officials, businessmen, public and private sector organization. Over 40 experts will be discussing water scarcity and sustainable development across the region at the forum.

UAE’s water aid to the world

Talking about the UAE’s contributions in the field of international cooperation and providing development assistance related to water and sanitation to countries in need, the minister said, the UAE has disbursed nearly Dh3 billion in aid from 2015 to 2020.

Mazrouei added that the UAE identified the future needs of the water sector through preparing the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036, which aims to ensure the sustainability and continuity of access to water in both natural and emergency conditions.

Highlighting the purpose of the forum, the minister said: “Dialogue between the various entities in the sector has become a greater necessity than ever before, to enhance joint cooperation, to study innovative solutions and formulate public and private measures and initiatives in order to ensure better water security and sustainability,” he said.

According to the newly released United Nations 2020 report on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UAE has achieved 100 per cent in the provision of safe drinking water, sanitation and sanitation services. The UAE also achieved a score of 79 per cent in integrated water resources management.

Over 50 exhibitors showcase tech power

More than 50 exhibitors participated in the forum, showcasing the latest technologies and innovations in the field of water, water desalination, as well as the production of pure drinking water. In addition to utility companies, municipalities, and suppliers also took part with the aim of spreading awareness about the importance of the water sector.

Held under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, the forum is supported by the League of Arab States (LAS) and the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation of Egypt (MWRI).

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