Leading organizations to lend their expertise, and case study and regional knowledge to be shared
According to the United Nations, water use has been growing at twice the rate of population growth in the last century. Environmental factors such as climate change, the industrialization and urbanization of growing economies, and human activities like mass consumption, misuse and pollution, have put global water supplies under enormous stress. It is estimated that by 2025, more than 1.8 billion people will be living in countries with absolute water scarcity — a problem that is exacerbated in arid regions like the Middle East.
Although the word "arid" brings to mind vast stretches of scorching hot desert, in reality the term applies not only to the Middle East and Africa, but also to parts of Europe, Australia, Southeast Asia and the U.S.
Water is not only vital for every living being, it is also associated with a country's social and economic development. Thus when it comes to arid regions, finding solutions to water scarcity is less of a "green cause" and more of a pressing necessity.
"This is precisely why we came up with the Sustainable Solutions Village," said Peter McConnell, show director of the inaugural International Water Summit (IWS), which will take place Jan. 15 to 17, 2013, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. "We wanted to create a space where people can find out how these regions are trying to solve their water problems, to offer them the opportunity to learn, exchange ideas and know-how, to inspire and be inspired."
The Sustainable Solutions Village is a feature of the IWS Exhibition, which will be running for the duration of the show. The village will be divided into two areas; one is dedicated to water solutions for rural communities and the other is a presentation space that will showcase regional water sector best practices.
"We have confirmed the participation of some of the world's most prominent water sector entities, such as the United Nations Development Programme and the Environmental Outreach Division of EAD, and we have also included a number of lively panel discussions and interactive sessions to engage visitors and encourage interaction," McConnell said. "It is a unique opportunity for anyone involved with water and energy, directly or indirectly. All these people are bringing in their expertise and experience to help tackle one of the planet's biggest problems."