Unsurprisingly, since water scarcity is at the forefront of the cause of most of the troubles in the Middle East, MENA nations dominated the 2011 Global Water Awards held in Berlin this week.
Almost half of the international winners were from the Middle East, but surprisingly, traditional fossil-fueled water projects dominated the awardees.
Advanced cleantech water companies that genuinely hold the promise of a sustainable water development, such as the many innovators that Israel’s Kinrot has incubated (GE Partnership With Kinrot Ventures Takes Clean Water Innovation Global) were not represented among the global winners. Nor were any of the many international solar companies now innovating sustainable desalination.
Israel’s 50 year old IDE Technologies, owned by big polluters Delek and Israel Chemicals, was selected as the winning desalination company of the year, for “complete mastery of both membrane and thermal desalination” (“thermal” means fossil-fueled.)
Two awards were won by tiny Oman. Salalah IWPP funding won for the desalination deal of the year, for its $1 billion 445 MW gas-fired power and water plant, and the Nimr reed beds in Oman won for industrial water project of the year.
Dubai’s Electricity and Water Authority won the award for public water agency of the year for its “fluctuating charge showing customers how much their bills are affected by the change in oil and gas costs. Realistic billing has made the authority free to act on an independent financial footing.”
Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Sewage Lake cleanup won for water reuse project of the year. The water performance initiative was won by SEEAL from Algiers.
Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan was keynote speaker at the prestigious ceremony, which attracted hundreds of the top figures from the global water market.
Israel has long spearheaded the incubation of sustainable water technologies, and its start-ups nurtured by Kinrot Technologies are now being bought out by global companies like GE, which was another winner of the Global Water Awards: for its GE Water division (not one of GE’s more clean tech divisions).
For water to become a sustainable resource, you have to get the fossil fuels out. However, even among more traditional giant water companies, the MENA nations dominated the awards.
Image: IDE Technologies