This year, the United Nations’ World Water Day, March 22, 2021, is asking communities, businesses, and individuals to examine what water means to them.

Questions they are asking include:

  • How important is water in your home and your family life?
  • How important is it to your livelihood, your culture, your wellbeing and local environment?

In celebration and recognition of World Water Day, we look at why water is perhaps our most precious natural resource – an asset which must be managed and protected at all costs. 

With almost three-quarters of our planet covered by water, increasing our supply should be easy, however, only 1% of that water is fit for human consumption.  Addressing the problem of water scarcity is not only a question of providing water to drink, to support our communities and to keep industry turning; the impact of water availability extends far into other issues central to the wellbeing, success and sustainability of human civilization itself. 

The big-picture statistics around our society’s mismanagement of water will do more than raise eyebrows.

ALJ Water Mismanagement Infographic

In his recent Spotlight article on the future of water desalination, Fady Jameel, Deputy President and Vice Chairman, Abdul Latif Jameel, explains that water scarcity is a humanitarian, economic, and ecological crisis.  According a 2019 report by UNICEF and World Health Organization, 1 in 3 people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water.

This is why Abdul Latif Jameel Energy, and its dedicated water solutions unit, Almar Water Solutions, is committed to becoming a global leader in the water solutions sector, addressing the water security needs of the world’s growing population, through a sustainable program of desalination, water and waste water treatment, and recycling and reuse initiatives. 

With more than 17,000 desalination plants across the globe, the Middle East accounts for just under half of total capacity, while Asia, China, and the United States are rapidly increasing their desalination capacity, as are several countries in Latin America.

Operations are well underway in Chile, for example, where Almar Water Solutions acquired water treatment company Osmoflo SpA expanding its client portfolio and winning a three-year water services contract for mining company Mantos Cooper.  Almar also has a major stake in the Muharraq wastewater treatment plant in Bahrain, and was awarded the contract to develop Kenya’s first large-scale desalination plant in Mombasa to supply drinking water to more than one million people.

At the beginning of 2019, Almar Water Solutions won the contract to develop Shuqaiq 3 IWP on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s largest desalination plants, with a capacity to deliver clean water to 1.8 million people every day. 

And a joint venture in Egypt with Hassan Allam Utilities helped revitalize the country’s water infrastructure, and led to the acquisition of Ridgewood Group, a major desalination services company operating 58 desalination plants across the country.

This rapid expansion of Almar’s portfolio of water infrastructure assets underlines the intent and commitment of Abdul Latif Jameel in tackling the most pressing of challenges, and to improving access to sustainable water suppliers for communities across the globe.

In answer to the UN World Water Day question for 2021: what does water mean to us?  Our answer is that only by prioritizing the water challenge and encouraging investment and partnerships across society, can we develop the solutions required to strengthen water security and ensure access to water for everyone.  What value does water have to us?  It’s our most prized asset, it means everything.