The world uses almost 87 million cubic metres of desalinated water every day, and the MENA region accounts for 44% of that figure, according to the International Desalination Association. In the GCC, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar are all among the world’s 10 largest users of desalination. Yet the GWI Desalination Markets 2016 report notes that the region relies heavily on thermal desalination powered by fossil fuels. In 2015, the UAE used thermal processes for around 88% of its desalinated water, with just 12% from more efficient methods such as reverse osmosis. The global figure is 29% for thermal systems and 71% for reverse osmosis.
Hosted by Masdar, this year’s Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) will be a significant milestone in changing these statistics and decoupling the region’s water supply from fossil fuel use. In 2015, Masdar began operating four small-scale desalination plants at Ghantoot, between Abu Dhabi City and Dubai, as part of its Renewable Energy Desalination Pilot Programme. Each plant is testing a different desalination process – three based on reverse osmosis, one using forward osmosis – to identify the most efficient technologies to be coupled with solar energy. The data from the pilot programme will be published as part of ADSW, offering policy makers and industry a path forward to achieve environmentally sustainable water security.
As part of ADSW, and held in partnership with Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority, the International Water Summit (IWS) from January 16 to 19 is dedicated to closing the sustainability gap in the region’s water supply. Now in its fifth edition, IWS is the Middle East’s leading exhibition and conference for water security, located alongside the World Future Energy Summit (WFES). IWS 2017 will host high-level decision makers from water utilities across the MENA region, creating an essential market for innovations in both water production, and in water conservation, including infrastructure improvements and waste water recycling.
IWS is a global platform for promoting water sustainability in arid regions, bringing together world leaders, field experts, academics and business innovators to accelerate the development of new sustainable strategies and technologies. Importantly, IWS is built on the principle that the best way to achieve sustainable development is to build a sound business case for investment.
Mark your calendars today for 16-19 January 2017, and we look forward to welcoming you to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre!