Summit seeks groundwater conservation solutions

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Abu Dhabi: Conserving precious groundwater resources, which accounts for 63.3 per cent of water resources in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, will be a key focus of an upcoming global summit.

The Sustainable Water Solutions Village at the second International Water Summit (IWS) from January 20 to 22, 2014 in Abu Dhabi, hosted by Masdar, will bring together global ideas and best practices that have been successfully implemented in water-scarce communities to achieve water sustainability and conserve natural resources.

With new predictions that water scarcity in the Middle East and North Africa will worsen, conserving groundwater resources as part of the region’s water security strategy is becoming more urgent, said a press release yesterday.

A recent study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact and Research, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, concludes that an expected rise of 3.5°C in global mean temperatures by the end of the century will expose 668 million people worldwide to new or aggravated water scarcity, on top of the 1.3 billion currently living in water-scarce regions.

The problem will be even more severe in arid regions such as the Middle East with these expected changes in climate delivering less rain and further diminishing the availability of scarce groundwater resources.

“Conserving groundwater is a major social and environmental issue across the region, and the new predictions outlined in recent studies shows the issues will get worse if urgent action is not taken,” said Ara Fernezian, Managing Director- Middle East for Reed Exhibitions, organiser of the second International Water Summit. “However, it also opens a range of commercial opportunities, with over $300 billion of investment on water projects being planned by governments in GCC countries by 2022.”

IWS 2014 is a global platform that hosts world leaders, government organisations, policymakers, public and private sector investors, business leaders, consultants and water experts to interact, negotiate and finalise plans to develop diverse and sustainable water portfolios in the GCC and other regions.

The Sustainable Water Solutions Village in the exhibition area at IWS 2014 will feature technologies, projects and case studies that offer solutions to the challenges of water security, with a particular focus on water solutions for agriculture and groundwater conservation.

IWS is co-located with the World Future Energy Summit, also hosted by Masdar, as a part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), a global platform that addresses the interconnected challenges that affect the widespread acceleration and adoption of sustainable development and renewable energy. The largest gathering on sustainability in the history of the Middle East, ADSW encourages actionable outcomes to carve a pathway toward sustainability worldwide.