Sultan Qaboos University represented by the Water Research Center in conjunction with the Department of Soils, Water and Agricultural Engineering (College of Agriculture and Marine Sciences) and the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources (MRMWR) celebrated the World Water Day on 25 March 2018. The main event was a scientific workshop entitled “Nature for Water” organized under the patronage of H.E. Dr. Ali bin Saud Al Bimani, the Vice Chancellor of the University. In addition, students’ activities took place at the SQU Conference Hall, Garden of SQU Tower, and Muscat City Centre.
Dr. Osman Abdullah, Director of the Water Research Centre at SQU said that the workshop brought scientists and engineers working in water science and applications who, in their talks and presentations, discussed about focusing attention on the importance of water exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face on the 21st century. He said that the event provided a platform for stakeholders, experts and decision makers to discuss and assess the national and international water and nature for water issues and to prospect potential recommendations and solutions. The events focused on this year’s theme of World Water Day, “Nature for Water” which explores how we can use nature to overcome the water challenges of the 21st century.
Dr. Rashid Yahya Hamdan Al-Abri from the Ministry of Regional Municipalities & Water Resources, in his address, underlined the importance of nature-based solutions that have the potential to solve many of our water challenges. He spoke about the Oman government’s efforts to promote ‘green’ infrastructure and harmonize it with ‘grey’ infrastructure wherever possible in order to overcome water challenges.
Dr. Georges Vachaud, Emeritus Senior Scientist, CNRS Centre National de la Reserche Scientifique, the National Center for Scientific Research, Paris, France, in his keynote address, spoke about “Sustainability of Fresh Water Resources within the Context of Climate Change”. He said that environmental and social issues dealing with impacts of climate change on the water cycle would probably be one of the greatest problem to deal with in the forthcoming decades. Fresh water scarcity will be a very important challenge for economic and social development, in relation with development of urbanization and agriculture.
Dr. Muhammad Ashraf, Chairman Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources, Islamabad, delivered a keynote on “Water Resources Management Using Simple and Climate Smart Technologies: Experience from Pakistan”. He presented a number of interventions that has been implemented in irrigated and rain-fed areas of Pakistan to improve land and water productivities.
Dr. Ap Verheggen Director of SunGlacier Technologies, delivered the third keynote on “Growing Water Fall Technology- Water from Air, Solar Powered – soon available for everybody, everywhere”. The SunGlacier team found that with current condensation technology, using cooling surfaces, too much water is lost by evaporation. This inspired them to design a much more efficient system that functions without the loss of evaporation: a growing waterfall. This new technology is far more energy efficient, and has no cooling surfaces and evaporation anymore. The ultimate goal is to see this technology applied where it can benefit people searching for an independent water source.
Several speakers from Oman also presented their papers on water issues and findings related to Oman.