Global workshop in Oman discusses initiatives to meet water needs
January 28, 2018 | 9:53 PM
by Times News Service
The workshop involved strategic partners Middle East Media Research Centre, Islamic Development Bank and the Morocco’s National Office for Electricity & Potable Water. Photo – Shabin E

Muscat: A meeting was held recently to discuss the mammoth challenge of freshwater scarcity in Oman.

The workshop involved strategic partners Middle East Desalination Research Centre (MEDRC), Islamic Development Bank (IDB), and the Morocco-based National Office for Electricity & Potable Water (ONEE). It was sponsored by IDB and was held at MEDRC’s headquarters in Al Hail, Muscat.

The session brought together as many as 10 IDB member states, including Oman, Morocco, Jordan and Palestine, as well as Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania, in addition to Senegal and Libya. Experts representing IDB states discussed challenges, needs, successes and perspectives of their desalination sectors.

The session comes against the backdrop of an agreement between the IDB, MEDRC Water Research and ONEE to work together in areas specifically related to desalination, especially in research and capacity building.

The involved parties utilised the occasion to assess what was required of them in the collaborative effort to aid research and help build capacity.

Dr Jauad Al Kharraz, head of research at MEDRC Water, said capacity building was on track, adding that developments were occurring at an impressive pace.

Salma Jariri, an engineer from ONEE, said that people engaged in desalination would be open to using renewable sources of energy, given they meet the demand. “I’m sure people in the industry will look at using renewable sources of energy, provided they meet production demands,” she added.

The speakers also agreed that Reverse Osmosis (RO) was a cost-effective and efficient technology to desalinate sea water. MEDRC representatives noted that the workshop was a positive development. “It is a platform for peer learning and knowledge sharing, and strengthens MEDRC’s reputation as a regional hub and catalyst for the development of solutions to freshwater scarcity.”

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB), which is sponsoring the three-day event ending on January 30, is an institution with the stated goal of working to achieve economic development and social progress of Muslim countries.

At the event, Oman was represented by Dr Ammar Al -Obaidani, an expert at the Transfer of Science Knowledge and Technology office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Zaher Al Sulaimani, an engineer from the Chairman of the Oman Water Society; along with officials from the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP), The Research Council (TRC), Haya Water and Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW).

Representatives from the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, alongside key figures from operation and maintenance organisations running Oman’s desalination plants were also a part of the discussions. Other speakers at the event were Ciarán Ó Cuinn (centre director, MEDRC Water Research); Dr Ammar Al Obaidani (Ministry of Foreign Affairs); Abdelhakim Yessouf, an engineer from IDB; and Abrar Al Zaabi,an engineer from OPWP.

The event will conclude with technical personnel visiting MEDRC’s reverse osmosis pilot training plant and research facilities, besides a tour of the desalination plant at Ghubra on January 30.

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