Conference to discuss water depletion

Water resource depletion and conservation efforts will top the agenda of a conference to be opened here today under the aegis of Crown Prince Salman, deputy prime minister and minister of defence. Several international experts concerned over quality water resources for future generations will participate in this three- day conference entitled “International Conference on Water Resources and Arid Enviornments ( ICWRAE).” 

“The event will discuss and debate a number of topics, dwelling at length on the water resource depletion that leads not only to chronic scarcity of clean, safe drinking water for increasing number of people,but means arable land is harder to cultivate and maintain,” Abdulmakek A. Al- Shaikh, the chairman of the ICWRAE steering committee, said that here yesterday. Al- Shaikh said that persistent drought and accelerated desertification are results of water resource depletion, which is quite common all over the world, including the gulf region.

Al- Shaikh, who thanked Crown Prince Salman for his support, pointed out that the Riyadh- based King Saud University (KSU),  would host the event The KSU, he said, will be repersented by the Prince Sultan Institute for Environment, Water and Desert Research. “Water is life most precious resource. Our need for it is increasing exponentially, along with the human population,” said Al- Shaikh. “If we are to guarantee that there will be enough water for future generations, we must engage in a concerted global effort to make water available and to protect it from contamination,” he added.

Al- Shaikh, who is also the director of the Prince Sultan Research Center for Enviroment, Water and Desert at KSU and general secrerary of the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, said that the event will also work out a scientific framework for awarding the Prince Sultan Bin abdulaziz international Prize for Water and for announcing the topics of research for the next prize.

The conference, he said, would seek to exchange knowledge and share information in the field of water resources and desert- relateddisciplines. Atotal of six keynote speeches and panel discussions will be held on the fisrt day, followed by two days of panel discussions and brief individual commentaries. Nevertheless, the experts will address more then 60 topics in a staggered axhedule inn a total of 11 sessions.

Keynote speakers are Charles Franklin Harvay (US), Ashok Gadgil (US), Kevin Trenberth (New Zealand), Abdelkader Larabi (Morocco) and Mohammed Khayet Souhaimi (Spain). Larabi is a past winner of the Prince Sulatn Bin Abdulaziz International proze for water. The main topics that will be discussed and debated by the panelists will include innovative methods for rain and runoff water modeling, assessment and control of radioactive contamination, remote sensing and GIS applicationfor water resource management, as well as water harvesting and groundwater recharge.

Other subjects on which presentations will be made are water conservation in the agricultural, industrial and municipal sectors, conservation of biodiversity in arid environments, desertification and how to combatit, modern measuring systems and devices and the utilization of sustainable energy in water resource development.

On the sidelines of the conference, an exhibition featuring water conservation efforts, technology and problems will also be held.

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