Fady Juez, managing director at Metito, talks about the positive impact on water preservation and wastewater recycling and reuse in the region
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) report that nearly 663 million people lack access to an improved water source. The situation is expected to deteriorate further as a result of rising populations, urbanisation and industrialisation. Furthermore, insufficient knowledge among consumers about water scarcity, the importance of safe water access and the prospects of conflicts pertaining to water security is expected to aggravate the scenario.
To comprehend the depth of this issue concerning the Middle East, Fady Juez, managing director, Metito, explains how the water management company is positively impacting water preservation, responsible consumption and wastewater recycling and reuse in the region.
“At Metito, sustainability is integral to our day-to-day work and the delivery of our core solutions and projects. We are committed to securing clean and safe water access sustainably through our projects, utilities and investments – this is also a core part of our CSR agenda,” says Juez.
Moreover, as part of its efforts in creating a sustainable environment, Metito has retrofitted a solar roof system at its HQ in Dubai, which fully covers the energy needs of its factory and offices while also feeding into the municipal grid.
Likewise, Metito has collaborated with Dubai Parks and Resorts, Emaar and Sharjah Airport Authority’s expansion project to deploy water technologies in the UAE. With Dubai Parks and Resorts, Metito has created a comprehensive water management solution focusing on water recycling and reuse, while the treated sewage effluent plant is in line with the park’s sustainability policies.
Emaar’s project saw Metito develop a wastewater recycling and treated sewage effluent plant with a capacity of 20,000m3 per day.
“The treated sewage effluent plant produces feed water for district cooling in Burj Khalifa and also make-up water for the world’s tallest choreographed fountain – the Dubai Fountain. This saves almost 40 tons of CO2 a day, as opposed to using desalinated seawater for the same application,” Juez explains. “As part of Sharjah Airport Authority’s (SAA) comprehensive expansion project, Metito was appointed to undertake the design-build of the new sewage treatment plant and associated works – an effluent processing and treatment facility with the capacity of approximately 3,000m3 per day with provision for future capacity expansion to 4,500m3 per day.”
During the International Desalination Association World Congress 2019 in October, Metito signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Ras Al Khaimah government to work on the rehabilitation of Al Falaya sewage treatment plant.
Juez says, “The project covers the initial water treatment stages and the expansion of the plant’s capacity for future phases. Other developments that are parallel to the main rehabilitation project include the improvement of odour control and installation of automated electrical boards.”
He also notes that Metito is expanding into new territories, especially to Bangladesh and Turkey. A Metito-led consortium (JinkoPower and Al Jomilah) was named the lowest bidder for a tender to build a 45-55MW grid-tied solar plant. The bid was $0.0749/kWh, the lowest ever recorded in Bangladesh.
He says, “In September 2019, we acquired the majority shares of a Turkish chemistry company, Info Group, as part of our efforts to expand further into emerging markets. Turkey has shown incredible growth and investments in numerous areas, water being one of them, and this acquisition is a positive step for the country’s economy.
“The Middle East has always been an ideal market for sustainability projects, with so much room to grow in terms of economic diversification as countries move away from their dependence on oil. We see great potential and appetite for wastewater recycling and reuse, and we are confident that we will see more of such projects in the years to come. Meanwhile, we will focus on looking at innovative and eco-friendly technology to lower the cost of operations across existing and upcoming projects.”
The Middle East is expected to spend over $120bn on water investment by 2050, and public-private-partnerships (PPPs) are one viable method to address this demand. Juez says the firm sees huge potential in the MENA region and the GCC, as well as Sub-Saharan Africa, in terms of launching and leading PPPs.
“There is a growing appetite for PPPs, and we have seen projects that have been undertaken using this model succeed because the following are present: political will, relationships between government and private institutions, and the understanding of the need for technical expertise and knowledge transfer. We believe that the making of a credible, high-quality PPP is driven by these institutional factors that establish a strong framework with a long-term timeline.”
He adds that the main remit to innovate water management solutions is to align with Dubai’s vision, and that the firm foresees an industry that is more environmentally conscious by driving fundamental change through sustainable projects across water-stressed markets and community engagement programmes.
“Individuals and organisations must play their role if we want to evoke positive change in the world-water balance. We are working hand in hand with media, schools and university students to conduct workshops and project site visits. With these events, we share real-life data and statistics, latest technologies, and discuss the concept of water scarcity, preservation, recycling and reuse.
“The water-energy nexus is a growing challenge, and more needs to be done to ensure cleaner, greener energy for some of the most energy-intensive treatment systems, such as desalination. More research and development is needed, and newer technologies need to be tested and tried to move forward. The use of alternative energy is growing in demand, and it is important that we continue exploring the future of renewables as part of our portfolio diversification,” he concludes.