Experts have aired their belief that organizations need to work together to diversify their resources and strategies if Qatar and the region are to achieve water security, during a panel discussion hosted by Qatar Foundation in cooperation with Science Magazine.
With the sustainability of future water supplies being seen as a key global challenge in need of solutions, the panelists who are all experts within the water security field agreed that urgent solutions need to be applied by adapting existing technologies to address the issue of water crises.
The event, titled Water in a Dry Land: Can innovation drive water security, was held at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) as part of the Catalyzing The Future campaign, which is highlighting QSTPs efforts and achievements over the past decade and the importance of research, development, and innovation to Qatar.
Rachael McDonnell, Strategic Program Director, Water, Climate Change & Resilience at the International Water Management Institute, while giving her views on the water challenges the region and the world face, said: "One of the biggest problems is evaporation. We know that when we put water in our gardens or our landscaping, we have big losses due to strong sunshine and dry air. That is a real challenge in how we manage water."
McDonnell believes there is a need for "increased engagement in nurturing us to think about the preciousness of water in drylands." And she also said that, with studies suggesting that the MENA region will get hotter in the near future, water security solutions need to cross borders and become regional.
"We need to look more carefully at how we use our water reserves, and how we generate new water resources through advanced technologies, such as newer ways of desalination." she added.
McDonnell believes there is a need for these insights and technologies to be shared for collective globalized solutions.
"The Gulf countries have a real role to play," she said. "Due to their philosophy in fostering innovation, they can be world leaders in dryland water systems and food systems, offering solutions as climate change begins to affect regions and make them arid and dry."
"Our grandparents valued water, food, and resources that were not necessarily readily available," the Strategic Program Director, Water, Climate Change & Resilience at the International Water Management Institute concluded. "We need to inculcate that ethos into the younger generation. In some cultures, water is seen as sacred, while in others they refer to water as a living being. It is important to pass this on."
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