The International Desalination Association (IDA) led a thought-provoking PUB-IDA Business Forum focused on Desalination and Water Reuse: Enhancing Climate Resilience for Cities as part of the 2018 Singapore International Water Week.
The Desalination and Water Reuse Business Forum explored key developments in markets around the world. “Both desalination and water reuse play critical roles in helping to address growing issues of water scarcity. This Forum creates an invaluable platform that facilitates learning from the experiences of cities and countries where desalination and water reuse have ensured the resiliency of water supplies for future generations and also to explore the challenges that other parts of the world will face,” said Ms. Shannon McCarthy, IDA SecretaryGeneral, who welcomed His Excellency Eng. Ali Al-Hazmi, Governor of Saudi Water Conversion Corporation, as the Guest of Honor, along with distinguished panel speakers and delegates, setting the stage for the afternoon’s discussions co-organized by PUB and IDA.
A discussion of Trends in Desalination and Water Reuse, presented by Mr. Miguel Angel Sanz, President of the IDA, followed.
“Desalination and water reuse are sustainable, safe and complementary solutions for water scarcity, and both solutions are growing in the market at same speed. Desalination is expected to reach an installed capacity of 200 million m3/day in 2030, effectively doubling the volume from the last inventory of 2017. Water reuse will require more regulations and increased public awareness in several regions of the world to gain more acceptance and application. The main applications for reclaimed water are irrigation, industry, aquifer recharge and indirect and direct potable water reuse, while agriculture is the main market for recycled wastewater,” said Mr. Sanz.
Mr. Carlos Cosín, Chief Executive Officer of Almar Water Solutions and a Director of the International Desalination Association, then examined the desalination and water reuse market in the Middle East. “The Middle East represents nearly 40% of the total desalination capital expenditure in the world, which has solved the main scarcity challenge for drinking water. In the coming years, new developments in reuse will strengthen the circular water economy to meet the needs for irrigation and industrial requirements,” he said.
This was followed by a discussion of the challenges and opportunities for desalination in China presented by Ms. Hattie Wang, Vice President (Global Market), ROPV. “China’s desalination market has gone through a long process. With support from the government, water associations, water professionals and international water companies, it is slowly getting integrated with the global market. The future is positive and bright,” she commented.
Ms. Keisy Tarakabu, Coastal Engineer, Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Energy, Kiribati, shared the experience of her country in remarks on Overcoming Drought, A Pacific Island Experience. “Given the vulnerability of the small island states like Kiribati, proactive planning for drought and the inevitable impacts of climate change is crucial. It is imperative that governments, strongly supported by the private sector, develop effective, action-based plans for building resilience. Technology solutions, such as desalination, are one part of an overall strategy. These strategies need to be complemented by efforts such as education on water conservation, cooperation and coordination of communities and stakeholders, community engagement, and capacity building to efficiently and effectively maintain the system,” she noted.
The final speaker prior to a lively panel discussion was Mr. Roch Cheroux, Chief Executive Officer of South Australia Water Corporation, who summed up the importance of desalination. “Australia is the driest continent in the world. Its population is growing strongly and 85% of it is living less than 50km from the coast. Where the additional future water supply needed will come from if not from the sea?” he remarked.
“We want to congratulate PUB on the 10th Anniversary of SIWW and extend our thanks for co-organizing this session. The IDA looks forward to continuing our long history of collaboration at SIWW that dates back to the inauguration of what has become one of the world’s leading international water events. We also wish to express our gratitude to HE Al-Hazmi, the Governor of SWCC, for participating in the Forum and sharing his thoughts about the future of desalination and water reuse,” said Ms. McCarthy.
“The perspectives of the industry leaders who took part in the program, while reflective of their own experiences, intersect in the enthusiastic outlook for desalination and water reuse, and also in recognition of the need for planning ahead. We hope that the Forum attendees gained new insights that will be helpful in developing solutions to ensure sustainable water supplies in their regions,” she added.