Resilience as a Solution to the Rarefaction of Resources

How can the rarefaction of resources be addressed in the Middle East? Energy efficiency, securing the supply of drinking water, managing wastewater: Patrice Fonlladosa, Executive Vice-President Africa & Middle East, introduces the solutions enabling cities to develop their resilience.

"In the Middle East, the predictable rarefaction of resources led to a true awareness of the situation. And this especially as, for example, although approximatively 5% of the worldwide population lives in this area, it includes less than 1% of the water resource available on the planet. Although not all the countries may be as mature, some, such as Saudi Arabia, are already pursuing pro-active policies. Thus, the religious authorities now allow wastewater to be re-used once treated. 


Recycling Wastewater


In the Middle East, water resources are indeed very limited, however they may become unlimited if recycled into raw materials. This is the key issue of wastewater management and recovery. Our two plants in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, treat each day 430,000 m3 of wastewater. The treated water is then used to irrigate both crops and green spaces. Sludge is also recycled, for example into bioplastics (cellulose). This represents substantial savings for the local authority and enabled it to launch a major reforestation programme. 

Ensuring and Securing the Drinking Water Supply

The provision of drinking water is a major issue for cities in the Middle East. In this field, red algae is a serious threat as it clogs the filters of our desalination plants and may lead to the shutdown of the installations. We have therefore developed techniques making it possible to directly agglomerate these particles.  Our priority is to enhance the performance of our plants in order to improve their energy efficiency and more generally, limit their environmental impact. As an example, in Sur (Oman), we use sand as a natural filter through a catchment system on the beach.

Energy Saving Center: an Energy Efficiency Solution

Energy Saving Center, Enova, Dubaï.

As regards energy efficiency, our subsidiary Enova developed an Energy Saving Center in Dubai, providing a unique "energy intelligence" service. It monitors in real time the energy performance of buildings, whose management was entrusted to us. As a result, we save between 5 and 35% energy. Enova thus provides energy performance audits and advice for administrations (e.g. the Dubai authority in charge of water and electricity – DEWA) and commercial buildings. We have also carried out an audit for the airport of Dubaï. And the scope of possibilities is vast: the Emirate aims to reduce its energy consumption by 30%, by 2030. 


Acting Now to Favour Resilience

Why act now? Because we are reaching the limit beyond which it will be too late to act. It is becoming urgent to develop local competitive solutions favouring the resilience of cities. This means advising cities upstream to guard against risks, then helping them deploy efficient infrastructures enabling them to adapt to climate changes and limit their impacts."