Connecting Waterpeople

NYU Abu Dhabi's Water Research Center partners with EWEC to advance water management research

  • NYU Abu Dhabi's Water Research Center partners with EWEC to advance water management research

About the entity

New York University (NYU)
Since its founding in 1831, NYU has been an innovator in higher education, reaching out to an emerging middle class, embracing an urban identity and professional focus, and promoting a global vision that informs its 19 schools and colleges.

NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) has partnered with Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) to support the NYUAD Water Research Center’s (NYUAD-WRC) mission for water security and sustainability. 

The center serves as an interdisciplinary innovation hub for research in water desalination and membrane technology innovation, wastewater treatment, and social issues, where scientific knowledge is transformed into practical solutions.

The new partnership will engage NYUAD students to contribute to the continued advancement of water research, and educate them on water management, which is especially pertinent considering the UAE’s desert climate and limited freshwater supply. 

The two institutions will co-host webinars, which will be open to the public, delving into water-related topics and challenges. EWEC will also join the NYUAD Water Research Center’s Industry Advisory Board, a group of distinguished professionals in similar fields, where experience and knowledge can be shared to contribute to the challenges in a complex world. 

Othman Al Ali, Chief Executive Officer of EWEC, said: “We are extremely proud to be supporting the NYUAD-WRC, which is conducting world-leading research utilizing UAE innovations. EWEC is implementing a strategic low carbon water production program using reverse osmosis technology that will decouple water and electricity production, and transition Abu Dhabi’s water desalination to a more sustainable and efficient system. Through this partnership EWEC will share expertise, co-develop engaging educational content, support the NYUAD-WRC’s research and development of cutting-edge, UAE produced RO membrane technology, and inspire NYUAD students to be the next innovators and leaders in sustainable potable water production.”

NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann said: “I’m always thrilled to see collaborations with key stakeholders in the UAE. The Water Research Center’s critical mission for water sustainability and security is fundamental for the betterment of our communities across the nation. This new agreement with EWEC can help support this work and also transition our campus’s desalination process to more sustainable practices. As NYUAD increases and accelerates its sustainability measures on and off campus, this partnership will advance the study, reach, and effectiveness of water research within the UAE, the wider region, and the world, and drive collective action for change on the most pressing environmental issues.”

According to UNICEF and the World Health Organization one in three people globally do not have access to safe drinking water. To help meet that challenge, the NYUAD Water Research Center is developing a unique framework of research and education to advance integrated water research to tackle water challenges in the region and beyond. NYUAD-Water Research Center supports cutting-edge multidisciplinary research and development in water-related technologies, environmental processes, and water policy, in line with the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036 and the country’s vision to achieve prosperity and sustainability.

EWEC has adopted the cutting-edge low-carbon technology of reverse osmosis (RO) for water desalination and is currently managing the development of Taweelah RO, which will be the world’s largest RO desalination plant upon completion in 2022, supplying 200 million gallons per day (MGD) to meet the water demand for over 350,000 households. Furthermore, EWEC has also announced the development of the new low-carbon water desalination projects Mirfa 2 and Shuweihat S4, which will provide up to 150 MGD and up to 70 MGD of water respectively.

Professor of Engineering and Director of NYUAD Water Research Center Nidal Hilal said: “The UAE has a scarcity of water due to an ever-growing demand caused by commercial and urban development, industrialization, and population growth. The country needs more potable water supplies over the next 20 years to sustain this development. The provision of drinkable supplies through desalination of sea and groundwater, and through the treatment of industrial and domestic wastewater is a significant challenge.  We are incredibly grateful to EWEC for its support which enables us to continue to deliver the groundbreaking research required to advise on efficient and sustainable water management strategies in the UAE.”

In addition to the partnership, EWEC and NYUAD are announcing a Water Ambassador award. Winners will be selected from UAE national students at NYUAD through a yearly competition.

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