His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, today (Saturday November 7, 2009) officially opened the International Desalination Association (IDA) World Congress 2009 on Desalination and Water Reuse at Madinat Jumeirah.
Federal ministers and senior government officials from the UAE including His Excellency Mohammed Bin Dha’en Al Hameli, Minister of Energy; His Excellency Dr. Rashid Ahmad bin Fahad, Minister of Environment & Water as well as from other GCC countries attended the inaugural ceremony along with corporate leaders and global industry experts from across the world.
The grand opening session witnessed Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum presenting the IDA World Water Masters Award to Dr. Farouk Al Baz, Research Professor and Director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University for his extensive research and significant work in groundwater storage and recovery.
The opening ceremony featured the launch the Excellence Centre for Integrated Water Management, a world-class initiative to undertake applied research in Water Cycles, sustainable solutions for the ecosystem and the proper use of water resources.
Salma Hareb, CEO of Economic Zones World, said: “In collaboration with our partners, this world class R&D centre is dedicated to water issues. Its objectives include research in qualitative and quantitative water management, adequacy of water for human use, and planning for water sustainability.
Highlighting the significance of hosting this world congress in Dubai, she said: “The IDA World Congress will provide a new thrust to the research and development efforts in the region to
achieve long-tern sustainability in water desalination, supply and management. TechnoPark, and Economic Zones World as its parent organisation, see the hosting of the Congress for the first time here as an expression of our deep rooted commitment to this region’s development. We are proud to be supporting this event, which addresses one of the most critical problems the region faces.”
Speaking at the ceremony, His Excellency Mohammed Bin Dha’en Al Hameli, UAE Minister of Energy, said: “Despite the advances that have been achieved in water desalination internationally and regionally, the world water situation is worsening due to the inadequate availability of clean water, population increases, wastage and bad practices in water usage. All these factors which are relevant at international, regional and local levels, paint a frightening scenario of people competing for insufficient sources of water with all the attendant ramifications of that struggle.
“Today, here in this Conference in which we are discussing the looming water problem, and in front of this gathering, most if not all of whom, are the decision makers in this area and from this platform, we should declare that it has become incumbent upon us all to take a serious stand and to keep doing all we can; governments, private organizations, and individuals alike to conserve water irrespective of its source including desalinated water, through encouraging research and scientific experimentation to develop new designs for desalination plants which are cost effective, technologically advanced and environmentally friendly so that we can achieve desalination for a better world.”
The UAE Minister of Environment and Water, Dr. Rashid Ahmad bin Fahad, highlighted the strain on the already-scare water resources caused by nature and development. He noted that there were more than 30 desalination plants operating in the country with a capacity of 1.3 billion cubic metres a year, which meet 98% of the household and industrial water demand.
“Nevertheless, the demand for water remains high. Future projections indicate that demand will rise from 5 billion cubic metres to 7 billion cubic metres in 2020. In light of these forecasts, the Ministry of Environment and Water, in cooperation with its strategic partners, is currently working to develop strategies to maintain water resources and manage the demand to ensure sustainability,” he said.
“Despite the advances in water desalination, the industry still faces technical, economic, and environmental challenges, especially from the effects of rising temperatures. In order to mitigate climate change, the UAE has adopted the option of using nuclear and renewable energy in desalination processes,” he added.
Lisa Henthorne said: “The theme of our Congress is meant to capture our hope for the future and the vision we want to inspire in our industry. Desalination and water reuse offer our growing population what nothing else can - an abundant source of fresh water through which our health can be maintained, our economies can prosper, our standard of living can be enhanced, and water can be recycled repeatedly, thereby minimizing our environmental footprint on our planet.”
Among the other noted speakers at the opening session were His Excellency Dr. Rashid Ahmad bin Fahad, Minister of Environment & Water, UAE; His Excellency Abdullah Al Hussayen, Minister of Water and Electricity, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister of Water and Environment, Singapore; His Excellency Eng Fahmi Al Jowder, Minister of Electricity and Water, Kingdom of Bahrain; Lisa Henthorne, President of IDA. The key note address was delivered by David H. Koch, co-owner and Executive Vice President of Koch Industries, Inc. and President of Koch Membrane Systems.
The IDA World Congress, the premier global event for the desalination industry and the biggest conference of its kind the region hosted by TechnoPark, is themed on ‘Desalination for a Better World’ and will address over five days global issues on water management, latest desalination technologies and environmental and energy impacts of desalination. The event features 23 technical sessions, 240 presentations, lectures, roundtable discussions, interactive sessions and workshops. A concurrent exhibition will showcase the latest equipment and technology from 70 participating Companies from over 21 Countries.
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