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GCC pours $100b into water generation facilities

Recycling projects in focus amid rising population and deterioration of water quality

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A desalination plant in Dubai. A number of wastewater treatment and recycling projects to improve water management are inthe pipeline in the UA E to meet the rising demand for water.
Gulf News

Dubai: Rapid population growth and a deterioration of water quality have prompted GCC governments to embark on a major spending push to combat water scarcity and ensure sustainable resources for the future.

According to a recent report by Ventures Middle East, GCC governments have earmarked more than $100 billion (Dh367.31 billion) for new water projects from 2011 to 2016 with the emphasis on improving desalination technologies involving solar energy, and maximising waste-water treatment and recycling.

In response, a leading European company specialising in water and wastewater treatment technologies has introduced a series of new product lines tailored to suit the water quality and operating environment in the Middle East.

Toray Membrane Europe will showcase its latest water treatment technologies including reverse osmosis, nano-filtration, micro-filtration and ultra-filtration at the Power and Water Middle East exhibition to be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from October 8-10.

Held in partnership with Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea), with the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI) as a strategic partner, Power and Water Middle East is the region’s premier event for showcasing power and water-related products and services.

“The main focus of our water and wastewater treatment technologies is on energy saving, plant efficiency and performance,” said Rolf Richard Keil, deputy general manager of the Middle East branch at Toray Membrane Europe, which specialises in high-performance water-treatment membranes.

According to joint research by the Euro Arab Organisation for Environment, Water and Desert Ranches and the University of Jordan, the Arab world is likely to witness a water crisis around 2025 unless effective steering mechanisms for sustainable water management and measures to reduce the agricultural consumption of water are applied.

The UAE has planned several wastewater treatment and recycling projects to improve water management practices in order to meet rising demand of this scarce and costly resource. Abu Dhabi will add more than 30 million gallons per day of desalination capacity to its water network after a power and water plant extension at Mirfa was approved.

Abdulla Saif Al Nuaimi, director general of Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea) said: “It is a well-known fact that water is one of the scarcest resources in the Mena [Middle East and North Africa] region and that Gulf countries are among the world’s top ten producers of desalinated water.”

“Desalination currently provides two-thirds of the water requirements in Mena, and the new urgency and high priority accorded by governments to investments across the water-desalination sector in the region is therefore not a surprise,” Al Nuaimi said.

Elsewhere in the UAE, Fewa, the electricity and water authority for Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah, will implement ultra-filtration as a pre-treatment step for the first time at its Al Zawrah seawater reverse osmosis plant in Ajman to produce 115 million litres per day of pre-treated seawater to feed the reverse osmosis membrane system.

Qatar is also looking to increase its capacity in both the wastewater treatment and recycling areas. It is considering the introduction of new technological processes at independent water and power projects, the largest being the Ras Girtas project, currently under construction in the Ras Laffan industrial complex.

Meanwhile the Public Authority of Electricity and Water in Oman plans to build strategic water storage reservoirs in Muscat in order to overcome a crisis situation if desalination plants are disrupted, while the Kuwait Ministry of Electricity and Water will construct two reverse osmosis desalination plants that will produce nearly 50 million gallons of water per day.

“The water sector is a major challenge for GCC states which are among the most water-scarce countries in the world,” said Anita Mathews, exhibition director for Power and Water Middle East. “The problems of water shortage and water security are now being addressed and the relevant factors which influence the water resources identified.”

Now in its 5th year, Power and Water Middle East 2012 brings together developers, manufacturers, buyers and service providers from a range of sectors relating to power and water to meet, discuss and invest in the latest products and technologies.

The exhibition has so far attracted more than 100 exhibitors from 25 countries wishing to network and offer solutions to regional power generation, water and nuclear energy industries.