His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (centre) with the winners Image Credit: Twitter/@DXBMediaOffice

Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, received 11 winners of the third edition of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award.

The award was launched by Sheikh Mohammed to encourage research centres, individuals, and innovators worldwide to develop sustainable and innovative solutions for water scarcity. The UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia UAE), under the umbrella of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, oversees the award. The winners were from eight countries, including Honduras, India, the Philippines, the US, Kenya, Malaysia, China and France.

With prize money totalling $1 million, the award includes four primary categories: Innovative Projects Award, Innovative R&D Award, Innovative Individual Award, and Innovative Crisis Solutions Award. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid launched Suqia UAE in 2015 to contribute to solving the global water crisis by developing solutions for water scarcity and providing potable water for communities suffering from water shortages and pollution.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Suqia UAE, thanked Sheikh Mohammed for receiving the winners. He praised the impact of the Award, which, he said, was in line with the UAE’s aim to effectively contribute to providing solutions to global challenges.

“The UAE is synonymous with generosity through pioneering initiatives and projects that help underdeveloped societies face challenges and achieve sustainable development. We were pleased with the level of interest and participation in the award and the quality of innovations presented by companies, research centres, institutions, and innovators worldwide. We received submissions from 56 countries around the world, highlighting the UAE’s role as a platform for promoting innovation and a destination for creators from all over the world,” Al Tayer added.

“Suqia UAE has positively impacted the lives of more than 13.6 million people in 37 countries worldwide. In this context, I commend the efforts of the Emirates Red Crescent, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment, Dubai Cares, and other organisations for implementing pioneering projects in cooperation with Suqia UAE, which has promoted the use of innovative and sustainable solutions in its projects to provide clean water.”

Water woes

According to the United Nations, one in three people globally does not have access to safe drinking water. Over 2 billion people live in countries where the water supply is inadequate. Water scarcity takes a more significant toll on women and children because they are often responsible for collecting it. Women and girls spend long hours searching for water; in some countries, children walk several kilometres daily to get water. This entails difficulties and risks, wastes effort and time, and deprives them of access to quality education. Suqia UAE has played a pivotal role in working on sustainable development projects that provide clean water around the world.

Al Tayer and other members of the Suqia UAE board attended the reception. The board members included Fahad Abdelrahman bin Sultan, Deputy Secretary General for Development and International Cooperation at Emirates Red Crescent and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Suqia; Dr Ahmed Ali Murad, Associate Provost for Research at UAE University; Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University; Nasser Lootah, Executive Vice President, Generation (Power and Water) at DEWA; Waleed bin Salman, Executive Vice President, Business Development and Excellence at DEWA; and Mohammed Abdulkareem Al Shamsi, Acting Executive Director of Suqia.


Innovative projects award (large projects)

Joint First: Agua Para el Pueblo (Honduras) for an electricity-free technology to remove turbidity from contaminated surface water sources.

Innovative projects award (small projects)

First: University of Illinois (USA) and Safe Water in partnership with Aids Project (Kenya) for a solar-powered drinking water ozonation project.

Innovative R&D Award – International Organisations

First: University of Malaya (Malaysia) for a smart auto-backwash membrane system without chemicals.

Innovative Individual Award – Innovative Researcher

Professor Peng Wang (China) for three technologies to produce inexpensive, clean drinking water for small-to-medium-sized communities.

Innovative Crisis Solutions Award

Mascara NT (France), for a preconnected containerised solar-powered desalination project that can be deployed in less than two hours.