GCC governments invest USD100bn in water sectors to combat water scarcity in the region

Dubai: Population growth and deterioration of water quality has prompted GCC governments to embark on major spending 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 $100bn in their water sectors between 2011 and 2016 to improve desalination technologies involving solar energy, and maximise on waste water treatments and recycling.

In response, a renowned 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 technology at the upcoming Power + Water Middle East exhibition, taking place from 8-10 October at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

Held in partnership with Abu Dhabi Water ‘&’ Electricity Authority (ADWEA), with Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI) as a strategic partner, Power + 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, one of the few companies with expertise across the entire spectrum of 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 following a green light for a power and water plant extension at Mirfa.

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 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 assigned by governments to investments across the water desalination sector in the region is therefore not a surprise”.

Elsewhere in the UAE, FEWA, the electricity and water authority for Ajman, Ras Al Khaima, 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 and water areas. In doing so it is considering new technological processes through 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 ‘&’ 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 in Doha, Kuwait 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 in power and water to meet, discuss and invest in the current products and technologies in the related industries.

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.