US-based Ecolab, a company specialised in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services that protect people and vital resources, has hailed the UAE as the driving force to achieve water sustainability through digitisation across the Gulf region.
Speaking at a company-organised roundtable in Dubai, Arjan Boogaards, Ecolab’s senior vice president and president for the Middle East & Africa (MEA) stressed that the UAE’s push for industrialisation will require its public and private sectors to collectively utilise digital assets and data analysis to avoid large volumes of water wastage and safeguard the country’s immediate and long-term sustainability ambitions.
Boogaards oversees Ecolab’s regional businesses across MEA - including Nalco Water, Ecolab’s dedicated water management division.
Boogaards said: “The Gulf region’s development of smart cities – most notably in the UAE and Saudi Arabia – must have sustainability at their core and it is certainly on the agenda. With the Middle East already boasting the world’s highest penetration of digital devices per capita, there is clear social readiness and commercial willingness to harness technology and data analysis to help deliver this.”
“With the UAE population now topping nine million and recording one of the world’s highest per capita water consumption rates at 550 litres a day, the country faces obvious water management challenges. These include the scarcity of groundwater reserves, high salinity levels in existing groundwater, the high cost of producing drinking water, limited re-use of water, and limited collection and treatment of wastewater outside the urban areas. Digitisation can significantly enhance water efficiency to meet future demand.”
Ecolab claims to deliver greater understanding of where and how to effect tighter resource control through its Water Risk Monetizer.
The Water Risk Monetizer is the industry’s first publicly available financial modeling tool that enables businesses to factor current and future water risks into decision-making and - through a partnership with Microsoft and Trucost - now incorporates water quality into its site-specific risk analysis to provide a more comprehensive risk assessment.
Talking a bit about data centre cooling, Boogaards said: “Data centre typically need to discharge water through cooling towers. You can only cycle water up to seven or eight times. We provide equipment to help treat the water. We clean [the water] and bring it back to the cooling towers. By doing that we carry out minimum liquid discharge. Basically, the only water leaving the plant is the water that evaporates from the cooling towers.”
Water conservation and the inherent economic and competitive consequences are now within reach for a water-challenged Middle East region through the use of digital and data technology, said Boogaards.
Ecolab’s focus in Dubai is primarily in the hospitality and food industry, whereas in Saudi the company focuses on the steel, oil, healthcare and chemicals industry.