Quenching the thirst
The GCC’s current seawater desalination capacity of approximately 4,000 million imperial gallons a day (MIGD) is set to increase to more than 5,500MIGD over the next 5 years as the GCC states invest heavily in increasing potable water supply amid growing demand.
Regional governments are expected to scale up budget allocation on implementing better water technologies and energy-efficient desalination. Planned reverse osmosis plant capacities are expected to increase every quarter as a result.
GCC countries are also taking requisite steps to overcome known challenges of streamlining public-private participation (PPP), utilities in debt, improving accountability and investment framework.
The water sector in the region will shift their focus towards sustainable practices, wastewater treatment and recycling, with several utilities and water agencies developing modern projects that indicate a technological turnaround for the region.
Frost & Sullivan research reveals that urban water supply in Saudi Arabia and the UAE is already above 90% coverage, with the majority of this water (up to 80%) sourced through desalination. In the next couple of years, it is anticipated that water supply in urban regions will reach 100% coverage .
Sustainability drives have also been seen among national water companies. An example is Haya Water in Oman is reducing methane emissions by aerobically composting sewage sludge. The end products can be re-used efficiently by the agricultural community as sewage biosolids or compost.
In the medium to long-term, technology adoption/ upgrade and compelling sustainability targets, together, will help the GCC reduce the demand-supply gap and aid preservation of resources for future.
Utilities such as DEWA (Dubai electricity and Water Supply), are leading by example with Moody’s Investors Services upgrading the company’s rating to investment grade. This has been a result of operational improvements.
DEWA is organising the 20th Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) from 23-25 October to drive sustainability practices.