MENA to spend US$300bn on water projects by 2022

iws-herestanding-flickrGovernments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are expected to spend US$300bn on water and desalination projects by 2022

The prediction was made by organisers of the International Water Summit (IWS), scheduled to be held from 19-22 January 2015 in Abu Dhabi, where more than 70 global experts will address major water sustainability and security challenges in the region.

Specifically, the IWS conference titled Promoting Water Sustainability in Arid Regions – scheduled to take place from 20-22 January 2015 – will address the water-energy nexus and its effect on regional and global food security.

Rashed Al Rashdi, deputy director general of the Abu Dhabi Regulation and Supervision Bureau and a partner of IWS, said, “With Abu Dhabi’s population and economy forecast to grow steadily over the coming years, harmonising strategies that support the sustainable supply of potable water is of key importance to that growth.

The International Water Summit is a prime opportunity to share global best practices, and promote collaborative efforts towards conserving precious resources for future generations and ensuring water is available to support future economic prosperity and social development.”

The conference will also discuss water conservation and future sustainability, strategic direction within the GCC, regional project investment, integrated water resource management, use of water in industries, clean technology desalination and used water treatment.

In addition, 2015 marks the end of the United Nations’ Decade for Action on Water Scarcity – an initiative designed to promote the Millenium Declaration, pledged to resolve water and related issues.

Faraj El-Awar, programme manager of UN Habitat’s Global Water Operators Partnerships Alliance, said, “Water is perhaps the most complex of the three major resource challenges because it is seen as a free resource and declared by the UN General Assembly in 2010 as a human right. Yet, the reality in arid regions is that it is a scarce and incredibly precious resource. This must be reflected through robust policies, integrated strategies and sustained investment, particularly as populations grow.”

IWS is supported by the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA), the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi, the Regulation and Supervision Bureau (RSB), and Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company. IWS will take place during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), which is scheduled to be held from 17-24 January 2015. Additionally, the World Future Energy Summit (WFES), Ecowaste and Zayed Future Energy Prize Awards would also be featured during ADSW.

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