Abu Dhabi to host International Desalination Association World Congress 2024

The International Desalination Association (IDA) will meet in Abu Dhabi in 2024 to “shape the future of the water and desalination sectors worldwide.” The congress is considered the largest in the world and brings together water and desalination sector leaders, senior officials, and international experts.

Abu Dhabi was revealed as the venue for the IDA World Congress 2024 during this year’s IDA World Congress Opening Ceremony.

During the recent IDA 2022 World Congress Opening Ceremony in Sydney, Australia, Ahmed Mohammed al Rumaithi, undersecretary of the Department of Energy in Abu Dhabi, presented welcome remarks and accepted the IDA World Congress flag from IDA President Carlos Cosin, in the presence of His Excellency Abdullah al-Sabousi, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Australia, dignitaries, the incoming IDA President, Fady Juez, and sector experts. The IDA World Congress flag will reside in Abu Dhabi until the IDA 2024 World Congress.

Abu Dhabi was selected as the venue for next year’s IDA 2024 World Congress among 16 other global cities, following a successful hosting bid prepared by Abu Dhabi’s Department of Energy in collaboration with local government agencies Abu Dhabi Convention and Exhibition Office, the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC).

Awaidha Murshed al Marar, chairman of the Department of Energy in Abu Dhabi, said: “Abu Dhabi winning the bid to host the IDA 2024 World Congress is the culmination of the guidance and enlightened vision of the wise leadership of the UAE. We have consolidated the position of Abu Dhabi worldwide by launching pioneering projects in the desalination sector. We are also a leading hub of innovation, creativity, and modern and advanced technologies to enhance the efficiency of water consumption and achieve water security. By rationalizing consumption to preserve natural resources, we are ensuring sustainability for current and future generations.”

He added, “The hosting of the IDA 2024 World Congress by the Department of Energy – Abu Dhabi is in line with our strategic plan to achieve sustainable growth and enhance water security. We are also augmenting Abu Dhabi’s globally leading position in desalination using low-carbon technologies.”

“The conference will give sector leaders, officials, and experts from around the world the chance to learn about the latest technological innovations and discuss ways to address the various challenges facing the water and desalination sectors. Especially those related to climate change and the reduction of carbon emissions, which helps in shaping the future of the sector worldwide.”

Khalifa al Qubaisi, chief commercial officer of the ADNEC, added: “Winning the bid to host IDA World Congress 2024 is another achievement added to Abu Dhabi’s record of hosting major global events. It reflects the emirate’s leading position as a destination for business tourism in the region and is the culmination of the hard work and cooperation between the ADNEC Group and its strategic partners, especially the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy. We continue to work with other government entities on the preparation and submission of bids that help attract more conferences to the capital. We are committed to transfer and localise knowledge and benefit from the capabilities and expertise of the ADNEC Group. Its vast facilities and advanced infrastructure have boosted the confidence of international institutions, entities, and organisations, in its ability to host such global conferences.”

Ahmed Mohammed al Rumaithi, undersecretary of the Department of Energy in Abu Dhabi, said that winning the IDA 2024 World Congress bid is a strong boost to the leading position of Abu Dhabi’s water and desalination sector and the efforts of the Department of Energy, which works according to its strategy and directions to support the UAE’s efforts in achieving sustainable economic growth.

He added that the department has made many efforts to ensure the sustainability and efficiency of water and its consumption and issued many regulations and policies to achieve maximum benefit from recycled water. It also supports national efforts to preserve water resources.

The undersecretary also pointed out that the Department of Energy is working to supply water production through reverse osmosis technology and has adopted policies to stimulate energy efficiency. These will help reduce emissions from water production by at least 50% in the next 10 years while providing reliable water services and water security in the future.
During 2021, total water production in Abu Dhabi amounted to 1,236 million m3, while total water production capacity last year was 4.14 million m3 per day. Abu Dhabi has four main desalination plants using reverse osmosis technology, which represent about 24% of the total water production capacity in the Emirates. The share of production capacity with this technology will increase to about 43% by 2025 due to the full commercial operation of the Taweelah plant by the end of 2022. In addition, two new stations, Al Mirfa M2 and Shuweihat S4, are currently in the process of being constructed.

Abu Dhabi also possesses the latest facilities and technologies for ensuring water quality and that water supplies meet health specifications and standards. The total number of tests carried out by independent water and energy producers were 50,877. These tests relied on 64 quality indicators for water produced using reverse osmosis technology and 51 quality indicators for water produced using thermal desalination technology. These include “multi-stage flash distillation and multi-impact distillation.” The overall compliance rate of water quality testing for production companies was 99.85%.

Abdullah al-Sabousi, UAE’s Ambassador to Australia, commented on this news: “It was an honour to welcome to Sydney the UAE delegation led by His Excellency Eng. Ahmed Mohammed Belajar Al Rumaithi, Undersecretary for the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy. Their participation in the IDA World Congress comes at such an important time when there is much debate in Australia about the role desalination can play in securing the country’s long-term water supply needs. The UAE has a valuable role to play in helping guide countries like Australia in developing successful strategies for non-rainfall dependent water supplies, so they can meet the challenges posed by climate change.”

Following the announcement of the 2024 event, Mubarak al Shamsi, director of the ADCEB at the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, made the following statement: “Access to clean water is one of the most defining issues of our time, with one in three people across the world unable to safely quench their thirst. We are proud to bring the IDA 2024 World Congress to Abu Dhabi as we continue to overcome substantial hydration and sanitation issues across the world.”

He added: “Our collaboration with the Department of Energy has been key to bringing this major world congress to the UAE capital, and we are delighted to support the bid, while providing further backing through our Advantage Abu Dhabi subvention scheme. The Sydney event was a huge success. We aim to build on the momentum of the IDA World Congress, warmly welcoming delegates, and partners for a prosperous gathering, where they can also experience everything, Abu Dhabi has to offer, at their own pace.”

IDA secretary general, Shannon McCarthy, concluded with the remark: “IDA is honoured to bring the World Congress to Abu Dhabi in 2024, and we look forward to the strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy and all associated government departments in Abu Dhabi. Through this partnership we aim to further the important global discussions on how desalination and water reuse can contribute to the water security challenge and advance SDG 6, Water for All, while reducing carbon emissions. We thank His Excellency Eng. Awaidha Murshed Al Marar, and His Excellency Eng. Ahmed Mohammed Belajar Al Rumaithi, for their outstanding support throughout this process.”

Abu Dhabi was selected to be the venue of the IDA World Congress 2024 following a bid among 16 other global cities.