Arab News Digest

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NCM highlights efforts to address water security challenges

ABU DHABI: Dr. Abdulla Al Mandous, Director-General of the National Center of Meteorology (NCM) and President of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), said that reliable water resources are a critical factor for the security of nations, communities, and agriculture.

As the global water crisis intensifies, there’s an increasing need to enhance countries’ resilience in the water sector by encouraging new research and technology and building effective international partnerships to preserve this precious resource, he added.

In a statement marking World Water Day, which falls annually on 22nd March, Dr. Al Mandous highlighted the growing global focus on the effective management of water resources. ‘Many countries are recognising the importance of efficiently managing water resources to enable irrigation projects, secure clean drinking water, develop local water sources, improve natural disaster management, and develop hydropower projects. The international community is also looking for alternative and inn
ovative solutions for efficient and sustainable water use that balances human needs with environmental conservation.’

While solutions like desalination and greywater recycling are viable options, the reality of environmental challenges is driving the need to find more effective solutions to enhance rainfall and increase groundwater recharge, he noted.

Dr. Al Manadous stressed that innovative solutions, such as rain enhancement technology, offer a glimmer of hope for a more sustainable future, especially with escalating risks of climate change and the worsening water scarcity crisis. ‘The National Centre for Meteorology continues to lead in this field through the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, conducting advanced rain enhancement research that contributes to sustainable water security for peoples around the world.’

Rain enhancement technology, also known as cloud seeding, offers a sustainable solution to water security by harnessing rainfall processes to increase rainfall amounts in wate
r-scarce regions. This technology leverages the natural cycle of water vapour condensation and cloud formation, providing a safe, environmentally friendly, adaptable, and cost-effective option to address water security challenges.

As a country located in arid regions and keen on finding effective solutions to water scarcity, he stressed, the UAE has adopted rain enhancement technology as part of its commitment to ensuring continuous fresh water supplies.

The UAE recently launched the Mohamed bin Zayed Water Initiative to address the urgent challenge of water scarcity, raise awareness of the crisis’s severity, accelerate the development of innovative technological solutions, and enhance international cooperation. The Mohamed bin Zayed Water Initiative reflects the UAE’s commitment to leading international efforts towards water security, in addition to the support the country has provided and continues to provide to advance rain enhancement research through the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Scienc
e, which represents a proactive approach to addressing water scarcity challenges by providing the necessary resources and expertise to develop environmentally friendly solutions for long-term water sustainability.

“Rain enhancement operations began in the UAE in the 1990s, and the country has made significant progress in this field over the following decades. Today, the UAE boasts a modern network of over 60 meteorological stations, a comprehensive radar system, and five specialised aircraft for cloud seeding operations. With the launch of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science under the supervision of the National Centre for Meteorology in 2015, the country took a significant step towards achieving its strategic objectives in water security. The programme continues to achieve tangible scientific achievements in developing new technologies and innovations that meet changing environmental challenges, through supporting and funding advanced research projects and enhancing international cooperati
on in rain enhancement research.

“Since its first cycle, the programme has funded 14 unique rain enhancement projects, collaborated with over 85 countries, and allocated US$22.5 million in rain enhancement research investments. Grant recipients have registered eight patents and showcased the funded research projects’ achievements in prestigious research journals.

‘The programme is committed to establishing a comprehensive infrastructure and technology that enables it to enhance rainfall and achieve water security in arid and semi-arid regions worldwide. The programme has achieved tangible results in enhancing its technological readiness in various fields, such as improving seeding materials, using autonomous systems, geoengineering, nanotechnology, and enhancing modelling and advanced data capabilities. These specialised areas serve as a roadmap towards achieving the program’s goals of enhancing rain enhancement operations in the UAE and other countries,’ the Director-General of NCM stated.

Last month, the
programme participated in the “Baku Water Week,” an international water management exhibition and conference, reaffirming its commitment to enhancing dialogue and deepening international cooperation in addressing water challenges, he emphasised. ‘The conference provided an ideal platform for knowledge exchange, sharing experiences, highlighting rain enhancement technologies, and exploring their global application. During the conference, the programme held numerous constructive meetings and discussions with key stakeholders and established partnerships that further international efforts in addressing water scarcity and achieving strategic goals in water security and climate action, especially as the programme looks forward to broader participation in the upcoming COP29 conference hosted by the Republic of Azerbaijan in November.’

‘Our celebration of World Water Day is an opportunity to acknowledge the role of everyone contributing to achieving water security. At the National Centre for Meteorology, we underst
and that finding innovative solutions to global water security challenges is not an easy task but requires broader international cooperation among scientists, researchers, and meteorological experts, whom we deeply appreciate and respect for their sincere efforts in addressing current challenges to build a more resilient and sustainable future for upcoming generations,’ Dr. Al Mandous concluded.

Source: Emirates News Agency