International Water Summit to focus on new desalination methods

ABU DHABI: The latest insights on groundbreaking desalination projects in the Middle East and North African (Mena) region will be part of the International Water Summit (IWS) taking place next month in Abu Dhabi.

Entitled ‘Promoting Water Sustainability in Arid Regions,’ IWS will examine the water-energy nexus and its long-term implications on regional and global food security.

The exhibition and conference will take place between 19-22 January during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), which is hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company. IWS is also supported by Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority, the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi, the Regulation and Supervision Bureau and Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company.

“The desalination industry is shifting its emphasis from producing water regardless of cost to producing desalinated water sustainably,” said Corrado Sommariva, a director with the International Desalination Association, the leading global organisation focused on desalination and water reuse.

“As a consequence, there is more of an emphasis on energy efficiency, sustainability and environmental impact. A key local example is the Masdar-led pilot program, which is advancing energy-efficient desalination technologies suitable to be powered by renewable energy sources. The program bridges the gap between promising technologies and large-scale, commercial applications powered by renewables.” “The Mena region has been relying heavily on thermal technologies, which are intrinsically more expensive and dramatically more energy intensive than seawater reversal processes,” said Sommariva. “Recently, RO has been gaining market share wherever reverse osmosis has competed with thermal technologies.” IWS will feature a number of speakers and panels that address the current and future challenges of water availability and promote international collaboration on water governance.

Sommariva credited IWS with creating “a strong platform to spark innovation and encourage collaboration. The conference has played a critical role in raising awareness about the role of innovation to important parallel industries, such as power and wastewater management. I believe next January’s IWS will generate a new momentum and a renewal of consciousness about the overall industry objective of ensuring sustainable water generation.” IWS is a key element of the About Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), which also includes the eighth World Future Energy Summit and EcoWaste, in association with Tadweer, Abu Dhabi’s Centre of Waste Management. The fifth assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency and the seventh Zayed Future Energy Prize Awards ceremony will also take place during ADSW.