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Meeting the water shortfall

Asad Khan, AES Arabia, on the importance of waste water reuse

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Asad Khan, AES Arabia.
Asad Khan, AES Arabia.

By Asad Khan, business development manager at AES Arabia.

As the global population continues to grow and climate change results in more water crises, where will the world find enough water to meet its needs?

While 5% of the world’s population resides in the Middle East and North Africa, the region has less than 1% of available potable or pure water. This startling statistic demonstrates the major threat that water scarcity poses to the economic growth prospects of the region.

Factors such as rapid economic and industrial development, urbanisation, population growth, increased water withdrawals for irrigation, municipal uses, and energy production, along with the proliferation of energy-intensive lifestyles, are placing an unprecedented strain on the Middle East’s limited water resources.

Due to their desert geography, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Yemen have low levels of renewable water resources, such as flowing rivers, and must rely on groundwater and desalination for most of their supply.In addition these countries are using more water than they should, drivingthe need for new desalination and water treatment plants.

Using reclaimed water for non-potable uses saves potable water for drinking. Recycled water can also be used to replenish sensitive ecosystems where wildlife, fish and plants are left vulnerable when water is diverted for urban or rural needs and use of recycled water can prevent pollution of sensitive environments and reduce the chances of drought.

Waste water reuse is becoming increasingly understood in the Middle East and many countries are now looking to ways of improving and expanding wastewater the practice. These issues have spurred the growth of the desalination and wastewater sectors and have resulted in large investments by the Government and foreign privatecompanies to meet demand.

Participation of private enterprise is now widely discussed as a means of improving productivity and efficiency in water management and public sanitation. A participatory approach to water management is needed, which includes raising awareness among both policymakers and the general public, as well as involving stakeholders at all levels.

For the last few years, the benefits of promoting wastewater reuse as a means of supplementing water resources and avoidance of environmental degradation have been recognised and national governments are designing, planning, constructing, financing, operating, and maintaining wastewater treatment plants. Governments are also conveying this message by conducting seminars, free training and exhibitions.

AES Arabia is one of the leading Middle East companies providing complete solutions in the field of water and waste water treatment since 1985.

The services start from conceptual studies, consultancy, design, manufacturing, installation, commissioning as well as operation and maintenance, with a wide range of expertise across a number of sectors such as municipality, power, refining and petrochemicals. We have implementeda number different solutions for enabling efficient water use and savings, ranging from wastewater treatment to RO polishing to Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD).

AES Arabia recently worked on a project where all the process waste water from different sources is treated. The water coming into the process is desalinated water; at the other end of the process, we are take waste stream and treating it in order to recycle the water back into the process, conserving water. The number of cycles of reuse depends on the application and the nature of contaminants in the water.

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