The Global Water Summit stands out against other water conferences because of our specific focus on water as an industry and a business – and a driver for economic development. That business focus is crucial and it makes a tangible difference to the way we cover global water sustainability, something very much on everyone’s minds today and widely covered by other water conferences.
The Global Water Summit’s approach to water sustainability, however, specifically argues the business case for low energy water treatment and re-use: sustainable water treatment means sustainable businesses and a sustainable economy. Our core belief is that water is not merely an important component of the world economy; it is the very backbone of it.
You can hear that core belief in every session held at the Summit and it comes straight from our stakeholders: they are the CEOs of water utilities, business leaders of the international water sector, the major water-using industries and investors interested in water infrastructure and developing technology. They come to the Global Water Summit because they live by doing business in the the water sector, they follow the trends in water markets and water investment and they know the Summit is an event where sound business relationships can be forged and new avenues of investment opportunity opened up.
Next year we’ll be bringing that growing audience to Abu Dhabi – and it’s high time we did. Abu Dhabi has an extraordinary water story and a large chapter of that story is being written by the Masdar Initiative. Masdar, a subsidiary of the Mubadala Development Company, has been mandated to expand the UAE’s energy portfolio by advancing, commercialising and deploying clean energy technologies.
They’re meeting the challenge of water supply head-on through the Renewable Energy Water Desalination Programme. The objective of their four pilot plants located in Ghantoot, Abu Dhabi is to develop and demonstrate seawater desalination technologies that are energy efficient, cost effective and have low environmental impact. With co-financing and support from Masdar, the participating companies (Abengoa, Sidem/Veolia, Suez Envirronment and Trevi Systems) now have an opportunity to become one of the developers of future large scale renewable energy driven desalination plants not only in the UAE, but abroad.
While the project looks set to make the Emirate a leader in renewable energy desalination, it also opens up new frontiers for the water sector as a whole – and when that happens, everybody wins.
The Global Water Summit sees water as a business; but at the same time, we know it is more than that. So much of what water projects accomplish is more than a commercial enterprise, especially when they develop the capacity, knowledge and infrastructure to meet our greatest resource challenge.