By Dr. Glen Daigger, International Water Association President and CH2M HILL Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
Many of you will know by now that Abu Dhabi has announced the establishment of an annual International Water Summit (IWS) to be held in conjunction with their already highly successful World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in January beginning in 2013. The International Water Association (IWA) is a supporting organization and will be responsible for organizing the technical conference – a role similar to the one IWA plays for the Singapore International Water Week. I was present at the press conference announcing this on January 18, 2012 in Abu Dhabi.
-First, it will focus on the water needs of the Gulf, which is an arid region where water challenges are some of the greatest on the planet. As we address water challenges in there we will develop new tools and approaches which can be used elsewhere, especially in the growing number of other arid regions around the planet.
-Second, co-locating it with the WFES provides an ideal forum for examining in practical terms the water-energy nexus. Water and energy are particularly connected in the gulf as so much water is produced by the energy-intensive desalination process.
-Finally, Abu Dhabi has demonstrated the capability to quickly grow a highly successful conference – in this case the WFES. For IWA, this will allow us to significantly increase our presence in the Gulf.
From a personal perspective, I am very excited as I think that the IWS can grow quickly into an event which complements the SIWW quite well and meets an important need in the water world by focusing on arid regions. It is a natural extension of the position Abu Dhabi has established in the energy sector and in sustainable urban areas through Masdar. It is also consistent with the head of State of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. I had the pleasure to spend about 30 minutes with him following the press conference sharing views on water and other matters. He told me that one of his motivations is that while 65 million people live on the Arabian Peninsula today, that 250 million are projected to live there in 50 years. And, in 50 years there will be no oil, but water will still be needed. He went on to say that he has 6 grandchildren and he wants them to be happy. I found the Crown Prince to be a thoughtful, wise, and caring person who is sincere in his commitment to do what he can to create an enriching future for those living in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and the Gulf. We need more leaders in the world like this.
Below is a short video describing the water challenge and the goals of the new International Water Summit.
Dr. Daigger has more than 30 years of experience in wastewater treatment plant evaluation, troubleshooting and process design. Between 1994 and 1996 he served as professor and head of the Environmental Systems Engineering Department at Clemson University. He is the author of numerous reports, articles, and conference presentations on wastewater treatment and sustainable wastewater infrastructure. His texts are used in engineering classrooms across the country. Active in the wastewater industry, Daigger is President of the International Water Association and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Water Works Association, Association of Environmental Engineering, and Water Environment Federation, as well as numerous other professional societies. He has twice received the Harrison Prescott Eddy Award from the Water Environment Federation.Tags: Abu Dhabi, CH2M HILL Access Water Blog, Daigger, Daigger 2011 Travelogue, Daigger Travelogue, Dr. Glen Daigger, glen daigger, International Water Summit, IWA, Water Resources