Singapore-headquartered global engineering firm Meinhardt Group signed a non-binding agreement yesterday to train Abu Dhabi’s Department of Energy (DoE) to manage water better.
Meinhardt will draw on its experience helping resource-constrained Singapore with its water needs, and the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) took place at Singapore’s national water agency, with Singapore’s water and environment minister and other top officials from both states attending.
A water crisis may be looming for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where the rapid development of both Dubai and Abu Dhabi has seen population growth put a strain on its groundwater reserves.
Two years ago researchers in the UAE warned that the Gulf state could run out of groundwater by 2030, leading to a collapse in its agricultural sector.
Groundwater makes up 70% of the UAE’s water resources, with 33 desalination plants providing 24% and wastewater 6%. Most of the state’s drinking water comes from desalination, with the groundwater being used for irrigation.
Scientists there have even considered building an artificial mountain to make rain.
The MOU states Meinhardt’s intention to train the DoE and its sector companies in a variety of water management disciplines, with an aim to establish a "World Class Water Capability Development Centre" in the UAE at some point in the future.
"Through this programme, we aim to share best practices in water management, tapping on Singapore’s years of experience combined with Meinhardt’s engineering capabilities in this field," said Omar Shahzad, Meinhardt Group CEO.
Meinhardt will train the DoE in:
- Operating water distribution systems;
- Managing water network operations and control centres;
- Automating distribution networks;
- Managing treated water networks; and
- Latest desalination technologies.
Meinhardt will also help in the assessment of Water/Waste Water Network Management.
"In line with our UAE Vision 2021, we are pleased to sign these MOUs to upskill and augment our sector employees to prepare them for the evolving industry landscape," said Awaidha Murshed Al Marar, Chairman of DoE.
Image: Signing the MoU in Singapore, 20 February 2018. From left: Awaidha Murshed Al Marar, chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Energy; Saeed Suwaidi, managing director, Abu Dhabi Distribution Co.; Omar Shahzad, CEO of Meinhardt Group; Singapore’s water and environment minister, Masagos Zulkifli; and Shahzad Nasim, group executive chairman of Meinhardt Group (Meinhardt Group)