On February 21st and 22nd, 2023, Prof. Fadi G. Comair Director of the Energy, Environment and Water Research Center (EEWRC) of The Cyprus Institute participated in the Arab Water Convention in Dubai. The said convention is part of a series of regional events organized by the Arab Water Council AWC to address a specific water priority issue in the EMME region, thus responding to the region’s rapidly changing water challenges. The aim of the Arab Water Convention is to provide a platform to exchange state-of-the-art technologies, advanced applications, and successful practices for facing the rapidly increasing water challenges.
The 2023 edition is dedicated to address the use of Non-Conventional Water Resources (NCWR) as a strategic solution and explore wealth of emerging opportunities for business and innovation in the water resources sector. The event generated a multi-stakeholder dialogue and offered an opportunity to promote the most efficient investment choices, to exchange knowledge, share best practices, and ensure a qualified transfer of experiences on emerging NCWR-related issues in different country contexts in the EMME region.
NCWR, such as desalinated water, treated industrial and domestic wastewater, agricultural drainage water, brackish groundwater, and water gained through water harvesting, are alternative water resources that require special treatment to be safely used. A wider and more targeted use of NCWR has the potential to close the supply-demand gap, to sustain basic water needs for societies, to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and assist EMME countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
The Convention created a platform to bring together all interested parties to embark on implementing the recommendations and decisions emerging from COP27. A special focus was made on the adaptation of the water sector to climate change through implementing the needed measures, including NCWR projects, and encouraging an immediate mobilization of public and private investments to remove funding barriers and execute actionable climate plans.
Prof. Fadi Comair chaired the session of Short Pitches – Smart NCWR: From Idea to Business. The panel included a circle of prominent experts in the field representing many public and private sector stakholders and funding agencies. An overview of innovative business ideas and start-up ventures in the field of NCWR in the region were made by businesses and start-up companies active in the sector and later an evaluation of the types of the existing and the needed innovations in order to advance the sector were made. The session concluded by an overview for the types of support and enabling environment that such innovations need.
Prof. Comair did a power point presentation in which he demonstrated the Cyprus Institute PROTEAS Facility as a unique example of non-conventional water resources projects in the region. Further he elaborated on the PRIMA WEFE Nexus Project that CyI is managing and coordinating. The experts recommended to adopt the CyI experience in PROTEAS as a business model.
One of the main outcomes of the two-day Convention was to dedicate a separate session in the upcoming COP28 for Non-Conventional Water Resources NCWR.