Singapore, a model city for water and wastewater management, is keen to bring its advanced water resource management solutions to the second International Water Summit (IWS) in Abu Dhabi in January 2014.
At a workshop organised in association with Singapore Water Association (SWA), IWS delegates exchanged ideas and discussed business opportunities with 15 Singapore water companies for addressing water challenges of the world’s arid regions, including the Middle East.
Thriving economies, rising water demand and fresh-water scarcity issues of the Middle East are becoming a major concern for the region. It is estimated that total water demand of UAE’s capital city Abu Dhabi alone could grow to 123% by 20301.
The reliance of most Gulf countries on desalination to produce 90 percent or more of their drinking water is adding to costs and energy footprint of the countries. According to government statistics, the UAE produces 1.7 billion cubic meters of desalinated water annually, in addition to 600 million cubic meters of treated wastewater which is mainly used for irrigation. However, at present, 45 per cent of wastewater in Abu Dhabi is either discharged back into the sea or into the desert.
Ara Fernezian, Divisional Managing Director – UAE at Reed Exhibitions, said, “Improving cheaper and more environmentally viable options such as wastewater treatment technologies and wastewater reuse is essential.”
In its 2030 vision, Abu Dhabi Municipality includes plans for a more sustainable irrigation system, while Abu Dhabi’s environment authority, Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi has recently unveiled a new water management strategy and a work plan for 2014-2018. “Abu Dhabi is aggressively adopting an innovative integrated water management approach which is important for the sustainable development of the Emirate’s as well as region’s water infrastructure”, Fernezian added.
Singapore’s success story in water management is well known as a pillar of Singapore’s water sustainability. NEWater branded recycled water is one of Singapore’s main sources of water. There are at present four NEWater plants which can meet 15% of Singapore’s water needs, with plans for a fifth plant underway that will boost the total capacity to 30%. Singapore also has one of Asia’s largest seawater reverse-osmosis plant, which produces 30 million gallons of water a day (136,000 cubic metres) to meet about 10% of Singapore’s water needs.
Outlining opportunities for Singapore’s water firms to partake in Abu Dhabi’s sustainable water resource management efforts, Fernezian added, “Singapore’s holistic approach to water resource management is one of the main reasons for the islands success in managing its water supply. The arid regions of the Middle East are seeking a similar multifold approach to water management and are investing heavily in water projects. The water and wastewater infrastructure market alone is valued at USD 9 billion, a lucrative business opportunity for Singaporean companies to establish in Abu Dhabi and cater to the region’s needs.”
IWS 2014 is a global platform that hosts world leaders, government organizations, policymakers, public and private sector investors, business leaders, consultants and water experts to interact, negotiate and finalise plans to develop diverse and sustainable water portfolios in the GCC and other regions.
It is co-located with World Future Energy Summit, hosted by Masdar, as a part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW),a global platform that addresses the interconnected challenges that affect the widespread acceleration and adoption of sustainable development and renewable energy. The largest gathering on sustainability in the history of the Middle East, ADSW encourages actionable outcomes to carve a pathway toward sustainability worldwide.
As part of an international roadshow to discuss the opportunities in the GCC water sector and to encourage dialogue and international cooperation at the 2014 event, IWS team has traveled to Japan, France, Singapore and UK, and will head to Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands and USA in coming months.
Building on the success of the inaugural edition of the summit, IWS 2014 is expected to host international delegations and hundreds of exhibitors providing opportunities for businesses, investors and government policy makers to develop their water agendas. It will continue to garner strong local support from partners such as the Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW), Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW), Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA), Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD), Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company (ADSSC) and Regulation and Supervision Bureau (RSB).
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