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Lootah calls for ‘workable balance’

ENPARK event highlights urgency to secure region’s freshwater supplies and extensive application for wastewater management

| | Dec 15, 2010 | 10:41 am
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ENPARK event highlights urgency to secure region’s freshwater supplies and extensive application for wastewater management

A holistic approach towards water and wastewater management must be collectively adopted by the region’s public and private sectors if freshwater requirements of its growing population and expanding economies are to be adequately met, according to environment experts. In addition, water consumption habits by individuals and households would also be a critical component to determine the level of success achieved in this objective. These were the overarching messages that emerged from the Water and Wastewater Management Green Brunch seminar held on November 23, organised by the Energy and Environment Park (ENPARK), a sustainable community model for commercial and residential use and a member of TECOM Investments’ Sciences Cluster.

Ahmed Lootah

Ahmed Lootah

In this context, Ahmed Lootah, Senior Business Development Manager, ENPARK, said: “The environmental challenge is to find a workable balance between preserving water, relying on the energy-intensive process of desalinating seawater, plus treating and recycling industrial and household wastewater. Ultimately, it remains our collective responsibility to manage how much water we use on a daily basis.” Highlighting what transpired at the conference, Lootah added, “Some experts at the Green Brunch event have pointed out that the daily per capita consumption of water in the UAE is 250 litres and have suggested a more sustainable figure of 180 litres.”

Ivano Iannelli, Special Operations Director, Averda, pointed out that not only does treatment of wastewater remove pollutants, it also results in the recovery and capture of methane, a major greenhouse biogas responsible for global warming. Such a treatment process can earn an organisation valuable carbon credits under the Clean Development Mechanism defined in Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol.

Averda International is an integrated group of companies covering the collection, treatment, recycling and sanitary land filling of municipal solid waste, manufacturing, real estate and information technology.

To emphasise the point that green technology is gainfully employed by the region’s hydrocarbon industry, Five Oceans Environmental Services, which was one of the participants in the execution of the Nimr Reed Bed Project in Oman, presented a case study to draw attention to the successful implementation of naturally sustainable processes with minimal energy inputs.

Extraction of oil at Nimr produces wastewater up to 250,000 cubic metres per day, which is, reportedly, now treated using reed beds and evaporation ponds. It is a technique that uses the natural filtration processes of aqueous plants in a controlled environment to significantly reduce pollutants in wastewater.

The high carbon footprint involved in producing, transporting and disposing of water in plastic bottles, and the health risks posed by consuming bottled water were encapsulated by Bassem Fakhry, President, Dynamics Energy and Water Solutions, with a special focus on consumption trends in the UAE. Asked if tap water was safe to drink, Fakhry replied that while public utilities apply stringent measures to render freshwater potable, it was essentially the condition of storage tanks in local buildings that would determine whether households should reach out for bottled water or not.

Prior to the Water and Wastewater Management seminar, ENPARK had hosted seminars on Energy Efficiency and Green Retrofitting in July and October respectively, as part of the Green Brunch series, to highlight how environmental sustainability can be fine-tuned to meet the challenges of a desert topography through the use of innovative green technology and resourcefulness. Both events featured presentations and open debates to help raise awareness of new energy and environment-related technologies as well as solutions available in the regional market, ENPARK said. The two events drew enthusiastic participation from the local building industry and business communities, it claimed.

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