Air-to-water solution displayed at Dubai meet - GulfToday

Air-to-water solution displayed at Dubai meet


The photo has been used for illustrative purpose.

The three-day Fifth Arab Water Forum held at Dubai ended on Friday on a high, positive note when five companies demonstrated how moisture in the air could be turned into water, and experts have opined that there is more water in the air than there is in all the rivers combined. Of course, the air-to-water solution is no overnight miracle. The research has been on for 20 years and more in India and the United States.

Though it is being offered as a solution, there is a long way ahead before it can be replicated on an industrial scale. But the meeting hosted by United Arab Emirates Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, supported by the Arab League and the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation of Egypt, and which had as its theme, “Arab Water Security for Peace and Sustainable Development” took note of the fact that climate change has only accentuated the water crisis plaguing many parts of the world, with 786 million people without access to drinking water.

Opening the conference, UAE Minister for Energy and Infrastructure Suhail Bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei pointed out in his keynote address, “The water-related challenges will become tougher in light of the growing demand for water and the scarcity of resources, especially in our Arab region in the coming years.” And he warned that this will become critical in the context of global climate change issues. He said that the UAE will have three desalination plants which would have a combined production capacity of 420 million imperial gallons of water per day (MIGD) by 2023 and the total capacity would rise to 1,590 million imperial gallons of water per day.

He said that the UAE recognises that sustainable water supply is an important component of future development, and that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, has adopted the National Programme for Demand-Side Management for Energy and Water. He also revealed that the UAE had achieved 100 per cent in the provision of safe drinking water, sanitation, and sanitation services, and it had also contributed AED3 billion in international assistance to other countries in need between 2015 and 2020.

He emphasised that the UAE was aware of the future needs in this sector, and this is reflected in “Preparing the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036.” The minister also referred to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision that the water problem must be tackled and solved through co-operation of the countries in the region.

In many ways, the United Arab Emirates is using its strong economic base to think of the future challenges and preparing for them. Some countries are caught in the throes of water shortages and its rising demand. The water challenge then is as acute as the energy challenge. And it is only through future planning as is being done in the United Arab Emirates through capacity building, challenges can be met. It will also become necessary to look to new ways of solving the problem with the help of technology.

The solution offered at the Dubai meeting of converting air into water is indeed novel, and whether it is the total solution or not as claimed by those promoting it, it seems to be the right way of approaching the problem. An experiment that fails is not a dead-end but it leads to further research and other solutions. And the Arab Water Forum meetings of the kind held in Dubai become important because it helps in the exchange of ideas and sharing of knowledge.

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