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Veolia hosts roundtable session; aims to increase reuse of wastewater

On Monday 6 May, Veolia Water Technologies held a roundtable session to discuss better ways to preserve and reuse water. The theme of the session centred around how wastewater can be reused multiple times, which can help in preserving existing water resources.

Technical Review Middle East caught up with the panellists to talk about this in further detail.

One of the main topics of discussion was regulation, and how better laws could help develop a better ecosystem.

Thierry Dezenclos, CEO of Veolia UAE, said that a standardisation of laws across all emirates in the UAE would help transport wastewater faster and lead to increased volumes of treated water.

“I would say one of the major issues that we face in the UAE in terms of regulation is not to have the same regulation between the different states [emirates]. That makes it difficult to organise different things.

The second thing is that we are not authorised to move waste from one emirate to another. That forces us to build many different small units in each emirate, when we could have one big facility, which is less costly.”

Restricted and unrestricted use

Dr. Titia de Mes, sustainability manager at Sustainable Water Solutions Company in Abu Dhabi, explained that stricter guidelines, which can define how water can be used, will prove to be important.

“Our business in Abu Dhabi is regulated by the Department of Energy, which means that we have to comply with their guidelines.

They [the DOE] have two schemes, giving a separate licence for each. So with this licence, we treat the water to a certain quality. If we comply, there is one quality that says restricted use and unrestricted use.

For restricted use, you can use the water when it's not exposed to the public and the unrestricted one is for use when it's for things like parks etc.

In Abu Dhabi, there's not really any specific guidelines which explain what you can use for agriculture. So for now, it will fall into unrestricted use, but I think there should be some more guidance on the regulation for the use for agriculture.”

Thierry Fromen Dr

From left to right: Thierry Froment, Dr. Titia de Mes, Thierry Dezenclos, Nadine Zidani, founder and CEO of Mena Impact, and Pascal Grante, CEO, Veolia Near & Middle East. (Image source: Veolia)

Using new technology

Thierry Froment, CEO of Veolia Water Technologies Middle East, added that one of the main reasons why they have a carbon neutral sewage treatment plant in Europe is because of the cost of energy.

“The cost of energy is such that you need to do something about it to make the treatment acceptable. Here we struggle to use biogas that is produced by some sewage treatment plants because we cannot have any payback on the cogeneration for this energy.

“But at the same time, the quantity of water that is reused in the region is much more than the best in Europe, which is Spain [standing at 12%].

“We [in the UAE] are already at 71%. I think Qatar is a bit higher than that at 95%.”

He also added that waste-to-energy plants are succeeding in the region and that they will pioneer green energy and ultimately reduce carbon emissions.