Abu Dhabi, Jan 1, 2013 - (ACN Newswire) - Had it not been for the black gold's attention-grabbing boom, the Middle East might have been notorious for its efforts to solve the water scarcity conundrum.
According to the UN, water use has been growing at twice the rate of population growth in the last century. Environmental factors such as climate change, the industrialization and urbanization of growing economies, and human activities like mass consumption, misuse and pollution, have put the global water supplies under enormous stress. It is estimated that by 2025, more than 1.8 billion people will be living in countries with absolute water scarcity - a problem that is exacerbated in arid regions like the Middle East.
Although the word 'arid' brings to mind vast stretches of scorching hot dessert, in reality the term applies not only to the Middle East and Africa, but also to parts of Europe, Australia, south-East Asia, as well as the US.
Water is not only vital for every living being. It is also associated with a country's social and economic development. Thus when it comes to arid regions, finding solutions to water-scarcity is less of a 'green cause' and more of a pressing necessity.
'This is precisely why we came up with the Sustainable Solutions Village' says Peter McConnell, show director of the inaugural International Water Summit (IWS) that will take place from 15-17 January in Abu Dhabi. 'We wanted to create a space where people can find out how these regions are trying to solve their water problems, to offer them the opportunity to learn, exchange ideas and know-how, to inspire and be inspired'.
The Sustainable Solutions Village is a feature of the IWS Exhibition, which will be running for the duration of the International Water Summit. The village will be divided into two areas; one is dedicated to water solutions for rural communities and the other is a presentation space that will showcase regional water sector best practice.
'We have confirmed the participation of some of the world's most prominent water sector entities, such as the United Nations Development Programme and the Environmental Outreach Division of EAD', Mr McConnell says, 'and we have also included a number of lively panel discussions and interactive sessions to engage visitors and encourage interaction. It is a unique opportunity for anyone involved with water and energy, directly or indirectly. All these people are bringing in their expertise and experience to help tackle one of the planet's biggest problems'.
Abdulaziz Alhajri, CEO of Abu Dhabi Polymers Company, part of Borouge & Borealis, points out that water plays a vital part in food production - an issue that is critical to rural communities who rely heavily on growing their own crops for economic growth, and, in some cases, even survival.
'Agriculture uses 80% of the fresh water. By 2050, the demand for food is projected to increase by 70 per cent and, without intervention, untenable pressure on water resources in many regions in the world will threaten food and water security.'
'Clearly we need to work together to increase the water-efficiency of food production, or more 'crops per drop', and cut the high level of waste within the food chain,' Mr Alhajri concludes.
About International Water Summit 2013
In response to the Abu Dhabi leadership's compelling declaration that water is more important than oil in the United Arab Emirates, the 2013 International Water Summit from 15 - 17 January 2013 is a bold first step in this arid region to develop the strategic action plans and innovative solutions needed to safeguard this invaluable resource with as little environmental impact as possible.
The 2013 International Water Summit is a testament to the commitment taken by the UAE, Abu Dhabi and Masdar to embrace the inseparable relationship between water and energy. Like energy sustainability, water sustainability needs to be at the top of the global agenda. For more information about the International Water Summit, visit: www.iwsabudhabi.com.
Source: International Water Summit 2013
Shereen Al Sallak International Water Summit T: +971 2 491 7615 F: +971 2 491 7612 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.internationalwatersummit.com
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