• 16 Jan 2020

Smart partnerships for water

A key measure towards tackling issues around water management is the decoupling of water desalination from power generation, a move that requires all stakeholders – from off-takers to financiers – to embrace change to ensure a more efficient future for the water sector.


Experts at the World Future Energy Summit gathered for a panel discussion on January 13 to discuss holistic approaches for water management. Looking at water in a more integrated way requires a fresh approach – stakeholders must work hand-in-hand to encourage the adoption of technologies and good governance to promote efficiency.


AbdulAziz Al Obaidli, TAQA Vice President for Power and Water in the GCC and India, discussed the need to accelerate efforts towards decoupling water desalination from power generation: “Twenty years ago, we were looking at thermal desalination technologies as the way to improve the efficiency of the power and water sector. With the changes in the power demand profiles and the advancement in membrane desalination technologies, there is a need to change the way we think about water desalination. The future is in decoupling.”


Macroeconomic benefits favor this move. Decoupling water desalination from power generation could result in overall cost savings as well as savings in fuel bills. Retrofitting thermal plants to reverse osmosis (RO) desalination or any other decoupled water technologies, while complicated in terms of existing contractual arrangements, could help accelerate decoupling. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are central to accelerating these efforts, as is identifying common interests across stakeholders.


Smart water, or integrating smart technologies to better manage water demand, is another area that could contribute to more efficient water management. Partnerships with the private sector, known for implementing solutions more quickly, could play an important role in early adoption of cutting-edge technologies in the water sector – whether smart sensors in plants, e-monitoring, computerized irrigation or applications of artificial intelligence.


The panelists added that without proper policies to ensure efficient management of the sector and education initiatives to shift behavior, not much will change. Collaboration across all stakeholders will drive the water sector forward.


Holistic approaches to efficient water management

January 13 at 3:30 pm at the World Future Energy Summit


Moderator: Mohammad El Ramahi, Director of Asset Management and Technical Services, Masdar


  • Faisal Ali Rashid, Director for Demand-side Management, Supreme Council of Energy, Dubai
  • Mohamed Dawoud, Advisor for Water Resources and Environment Quality, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi
  • Rami Ghandour, Managing Director, Metitio Utilities
  • AbdulAziz Al Obaidli, Vice President of Power & Water GCC and India, TAQA
  • David Leich, Chief Operating Officer, Engie MESCAT

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