ABU DHABI / WAM
Addressing climate change is the key to a healthy recovery and to building a sustainable future because the economy of the future is a green economy and the society of the future is a green society, said Awaidha Murshed Al Marar, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DoE) in his keynote address at the opening of the ADSW Summit 2021.
“Today, as we rebuild our world in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we recognise more than ever the need to decarbonise our infrastructures, to promote sustainable consumption and production of essential resources, and to enhance our resilience to climate change,” Al Marar noted.
The keynote speech focused particularly on how to make water more sustainable. The DoE Chairman cited two main reasons for selecting the topic. “Firstly, because of the opportunities that efficient water production and a decarbonised water infrastructure can offer to mitigate climate change risks to water availability, quality, and quantity, and secondly, because of the water-food-energy nexus and how the integration of these three sectors can improve security and support a green economic transition, making water a national priority.”
“According to the 2020 United Nations World Water Development Report, global water use has increased six-fold over the past century and global water demand is rising by about one percent every year, with this trend expected to continue until 2050. Over two billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress, and about four billion people experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year,” he explained, adding that climate change will further aggravate the situation.
“By improving water management and water production efficiencies, we can improve resilience to climate change and maximise the provision of a sufficient supply of potable water on a global scale,” he added.
“We rely on desalination as the primary source of drinking water and the main alternative for the water resources we need to sustain human life, agricultural activities and industrial processes,” Al Marar explained, noting that the UAE is the second-largest producer of desalinated water after Saudi Arabia, producing around 14 percent of the world’s desalinated water, accounting for nearly all of the UAE’s potable water.
“Here in Abu Dhabi, we have nine desalination plants with a total capacity of up to 960 million imperial gallons per day,” he said. “While we continue to expand our water infrastructure and build new desalination plants, we recognise the environmental impact of desalination and, therefore, we capitalise on continued innovation in desalination technologies, brine reduction techniques, and new water demand management strategies. Four of our current desalination plants in Abu Dhabi utilise Reverse Osmosis technology and represent around 15 percent of the emirate’s desalinated water production. This share is expected to grow to 30 percent by 2022 when the new AED2 billion RO desalination facility at the Al Taweelah Power Complex comes online.”
ADSW 2020 welcomed 45,000 attendees from more than 170 countries, including the UAE’s leadership, 10 heads of state, 180 international ministers, and over 500 world media representatives.