“Addressing climate change is key to a healthy recovery and to building a sustainable future,” said His Excellency Eng. 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, asserting that “the economy of the future is a green economy and the society of the future is a green society.”
Taking place in the UAE capital from January 18-21, 2021, Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2021 consists of a series of high-level virtual events, bringing together experts and leaders to define new pathways for delivering a green recovery in a post-COVID-19 world. ADSW Summit, meanwhile, is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.
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 decarbonized 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 UN World Water Development Report, global water use has increased six-fold over the past century and global water demand is rising by about 1% 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,” H.E. 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 maximize the provision of a sufficient supply of potable water on a global scale,” he continued.
H.E. Al Marar moved on to focus on the UAE and the GCC, affirming that water scarcity is to be expected due to the geographical and ecological characteristics of the region. “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,” he explained, noting that the UAE is the second-largest producer of desalinated water after Saudi Arabia, producing around 14% of the world’s desalinated water, accounting for nearly all of the UAE’s potable water.
It was also revealed that “these developments have been supported by government-led initiatives to reduce per capita water usage and rationalize water demand through wastewater re-use, reduction of consumption, minimization of losses in public supply and improving water use efficiency in the irrigation networks.”
“Water is an international concern and so it requires global attention and collective action. We need to devise local, regional, and global strategies to solve water scarcity and minimize climate change impacts on the availability of clean drinking water for all,” the DoE Chairman concluded.