The UAE Ministry of Energy is hosting the fifth Arab Water Forum (AWF5) later this year, which will focus on Arab water security for peace and sustainable development.
More than 800 high-level participants including industry experts and government officials will attend the forum that will take place in Abu Dhabi from September 21 to 23, the organisers said on Wednesday. The event is backed by the Arab League and the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation of Egypt.
The forum will discuss water challenges facing the region. Water scarcity has reached a critical level in the Arab region amid high demand and a growing population. The Middle East and North Africa, the world’s driest region hosting 12 of the world’s most water scarce countries, is home to 6 per cent of the world’s population and less than 2 per cent of the world’s renewable water supply, according to the World Bank.
“The Arab region today is facing unprecedented multi-dimensional water challenges,” Mahmoud Abu Zeid, president of the Arab Water Council, said. “Despite decades of regulation and large investments in water-related sectors, evidence still shows that the growing climate variability with its impacts on water availability, combined with the existing water scarcity in the region, has translated into poor livelihoods and food insecurity.”
Many countries in the Middle East are developing new desalination plants to meet the growing demand for water.
Abu Dhabi's Emirates Water and Electricity Company is inviting utility developers to submit bids for a planned 150 million imperial gallon per day desalination plant in the emirate. The Mirfa 2 reverse osmosis plant will be developed as an independent water project and will ensure security of supply for the UAE's capital, Ewec said in February.
Saudi Arabia is also building new desalination plants to meet rising demand.
“The 5th Arab Water Forum will showcase some of the world’s most innovative technologies, along with 40-plus international speakers and 800-plus senior delegates who will all gather together in Abu Dhabi this September with all safety measures in place,” Noel Greenway, managing partner of GM Events, which is organising the three-day forum said.