The International Desalination Association (IDA) announced on 12 November 2012 that it would be supporting the 2013 International Water Summit in Abu Dhabi as a Knowledge Partner and would lead sessions on water and energy.

Scheduled for 15-17 January 2013 and co-located with the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, the International Water Summit will bring together policymakers, scientists and business leaders to tackle the urgent water and wastewater challenges facing arid regions.

“IDA is very pleased to support the International Water Summit, which provides a new and unique global platform for promoting water sustainability in arid regions,” said Corrado Sommariva, IDA president. “The International Water Summit has particular relevance to IDA’s mission and follows exactly the message that IDA has spread strongly in the last five years about the need for sustainability and increased environmental responsibility in water solutions.”

Sommariva stated that, while the initial focus, particularly in the Middle East, was to provide a reliable source of fresh water to ensure the beginning and blossoming of the region’s economy, the emphasis now included making desalination a sustainable and environmentally responsible industrial solution.

“We have made tremendous progress in this regard mainly through innovation, but more still needs to be done,” the IDA president said. “This summit provides a platform to address issues that are essential not only for the desalination industry, but also for the continued development and success of the region’s community at large.”

An Abu Dhabi resident since 1993, Sommariva added “There is a strong relationship between desalination and energy. For example, in the Middle East, a great deal of the energy produced by thermal power plants is used to power desalination plants. A lot of energy that could be made available to the power grid is, in reality, directed towards the generation of water through desalination.”

Sommeriva said that Abu Dhabi was one of the first countries in the Middle East to undertake a strong and responsible approach towards energy.

“The Masdar initiative is unique not only in the GCC, but also worldwide,” he said. “In addition, Abu Dhabi’s authorities were among the first to introduce new desalination technologies with the goal of reducing the power plant heat rates.”

He pointed out that the emirate had also implemented some of the changes that were considered milestones in the industry. These included, in Al Taweelah and Umm Al Nar, the first large scale multi-effect distillation plants.

“The site of Fujairah – managed by Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority – can be defined as a ‘desalination park’ where all the main desalination technologies have been successfully implemented,” Sommariva added. “We must give credit to Abu Dhabi and its authorities for a long competent and professional work in the water sector.”