Utilities Middle East

Water Week 2022: Taking action now

- Baset Asaba, Editor Email: baset.asaba@itp.com

Water operators around the world are the stewards of an essential resource. How they handle that resource has a direct impact on the general livelihood of population­s since water infrastruc­ture is the cornerston­e of every thriving economy.

It is also a fact that in most water-stressed region, such as the Middle East, the process of producing and delivering potable water are major sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This might come as a shock, but global water utilities are said to emit the same amount of GHG as the world’s shipping industry. This is something that should concern everyone in the industry.

But the good news is that there is a lot that the water sector can do to drasticall­y reduce its emissions, and indeed we are already seeing significan­t action in this direction. The first step would be to drasticall­y scale down power consumptio­n for seawater desalinati­on processes which are energy intensive and a major cause of high emissions (and production costs).

Readily available technologi­es are an important and affordable part of the roadmap towards decarbonis­ing water, combined with changes in process, policy and practice. Assessment­s by Xylem, a water technology company, indicate that global water utilities could cut GHG emissions in half, at low to no cost, with existing high-efficiency technologi­es.

But above all else, there is need for supporting processes, policies, and practices to fast-track progress, to create accountabi­lity, to reduce the costs and risks of this transition, and to unlock new benefits linked to emissions reductions initiative­s.

This is why Utilities Middle East will be hosting its third edition of Water Week this month to add a layer of support to ongoing initiative­s. Water Week 2022 will take place at Taj Exotica, Palm Dubai, UAE on 13 September under the theme “Ramping up innovation and collaborat­ion for water resilience.”

Participan­ts at the event will analyse current achievemen­ts, showcase latest technologi­es and also propose new interventi­ons in key areas such as funding, collaborat­ion, policies, and regulation to help deliver better results.

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