Even as the appointment of a partner for ADWEA for the Taweelah project draws near, other projects are entering the pipeline in response to growing demand. To paint a picture of just how much of a part desalination has to play, Sorbonne University believes that in Abu Dhabi alone desalination capacity is expected to triple within the next 12 years, while water consumption has risen at an annual rate of 9.5%, doubling water demand within a mere decade. Ten years ago, groundwater supplied almost 80% of the emirate’s water needs but today it has nearly all gone, catapulting desalination to the fore as the Gulf States battle water scarcity.
Already, Taweelah has prompted the emergence of further large-scale desalination projects. 2018 has quickly become a year for desalination progress, and February saw DEWA announce that its proposed Jebel Ali facility will cost approximately $217.8 million. Like Taweelah, the plant will utilise reverse osmosis and will conform to the highest practicable industry standards of sustainability, a trend that will almost certainly continue, given that DEWA aims to ensure that at least 41% of energy used in desalination comes from clean sources by 2030. Currently, clean energy only represents about 5% of the total, so there’s a lot of ground to cover in a relatively short space of time.
As it progresses, 2018 is shaping up to be an important year for desalination, both in immediate terms for the Gulf region and also in the wider sense of encouraging wider international implementation.