Students get water message
June 18 2013 12:30 AM
A visiting group of students listen to GWSC’s assistant engineer Mary Katebah.
A visiting group of students listen to GWSC’s assistant engineer Mary Katebah.

By Bonnie James/Deputy News Editor

The Visitor Centre at the ConocoPhillips Global Water Sustainability Centre in Qatar Science & Technology Park has been a resounding success in conveying vital messages to the society on the urgent need to use water wisely.
More than 3,000 schoolchildren have so far been educated at the Centre which opened in 2010. “We received 850 students until now this year,” an official told Gulf Times during a visit to the centre, a showcase of water and how it defines the past and guides the future of Qatar.
On average, up to three student groups are hosted a week. Through interactive and hands-on exhibits, visitors are educated on the global sources of fresh water, the production of fresh water in Qatar, the importance of water conservation, and the commitment to water sustainability.
A tour of the Visitor Centre begins at a “water gate,” made of very fine water droplets, onto which images are projected. Next is the screening of the “world water story.” The video “Qatar’s Liquid Assets – Precious Water,” is shown on the Magic Planet digital video globe.
One of the messages conveyed is that though about 70% of Earth’s surface is covered with water, only 1% is fresh water we can use as 97% is saltwater and 2% is water frozen in glaciers.
“If pearls were taken out of the sea in Qatar long back, now an even more precious resource – water – is being taken from the sea,” it was mentioned referring to the fact that 99% of the drinking water used in the country comes from desalination plants.
The visitors’ then move on to the consoles with interactive touch-screens to discover where Qatar’s water comes from and how is water treated so it can be used. It is explained that the most common desalination process used in Qatar is multiple-stage flash distillation. In a series of vacuum chambers, heater water flashes (evaporates) to steam, which contacts the cooler pipes and condenses to clear fresh water.
After delivering all these nuggets of knowledge, the interactive presentation concludes with a quiz featuring 20 questions.
The next section shows the research and current projects going on at the GWSC, which include those on produced water (formation water which comes to the surface along with the oil or natural gas) management, innovative desalination, water reuse, and biotreatment.
Visitors can also find out – through touch screen animations - if they are water wasters and learn what could be done to reduce their water consumption. The final part of the tour is to make a commitment to conserve water and teach others about the precious resource.
Earning a Certificate of Appreciation and some “cool gear” to aid in saving water at home completes the tour. Student visits could be arranged by visiting the web site to inquire about reservations or logistics.

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