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World Water Day highlights need for new thinking to ensure water security for all
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World Water Day highlights need for new thinking to ensure water security for all

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On the occasion of World Water Day, which is marked today, Alya Al Mazroui, Director of the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science, said that the day "is an opportunity for us to reflect on the crucial importance of water security and work together towards protecting this vital resource."

In a statement released on the occasion, Al Mazroui said that water shortage today affects every continent, and that the scale of the problem is illustrated by the World Health Organisation’s estimation that 844 million people already lack access to a basic drinking water service and that half the world’s population could be living in water stressed areas by 2025.

"To raise awareness about what it regards as a critical challenge of the 21st century, the United Nations has focused international attention on the issue through the annual World Water Day, which aims to encourage leaders, stakeholders and innovators to address this critically urgent issue by working together to find innovative solutions.

"In response to this global concern, the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science aims to enhance its international success in developing the capabilities necessary to advance innovation and enhance global efforts in the field of water security. The programme is an essential part of the water pillar of the UAE’s National Innovation Strategy," she said.

"In the context of this strategy, the country is leading an innovative response to the water security challenge by driving new scientific and technological advances in rain enhancement.

"Reflecting the potential offered by such methods, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs launched the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science as a US $5 million programme overseen by the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) and designed to encourage scientists and researchers to explore new horizons in developing new rain enhancement techniques.

"Rain enhancement offers the solutions needed to increase rainfall amount in those regions most affected by droughts, making dry areas more water-secure and productive," she added.

Ms. Al Mazroui went on to say that the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science is already making a real difference by improving the effectiveness of targeted cloud seeding operations to offer a viable, cost-effective supplement to existing water supplies.

She explained, "Since the Programme was launched, strong links have already been developed with numerous research institutions through ongoing outreach, engaging with more than 450 researchers from over 200 global institutions. At the recent 8th World Water Forum in Brasilia this month, a roadshow delegation took the opportunity to share the Programme’s achievements in advancing rain enhancement research with distinguished delegates from leading international organizations committed to strengthening global water security.

"The Programme’s current awardees are already carrying out a range of ground-breaking work in a range of areas, including employing new algorithms to enhance precipitation understanding, using nanotechnology to accelerate water condensation, analysis of ice production processes in cumulus clouds, the role of atmospheric aerosols in precipitation enhancement, and modification of the electrical properties of clouds.

"Further projects commenced this year dealing with the creation of artificial clouds to induce rain; targeted observation and seeding through unmanned aerial vehicles; and advanced experimental-numerical approaches to rain enhancement."

Now established as the most prominent international scientific initiative of its kind, the Programme, Al Mazroui said, is committed to intensifying its quest to accelerate the scientific and technological solutions needed to tackle the urgent water security challenge and ensure that humanity can access the fresh water it needs.

"In cooperation with international experts from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the programme is currently reviewing its impressive achievements to date and formulating strategic goals for the next stage of its quest to advance rain enhancement science. Through this process, we are also identifying research overlaps, publishing and disseminating ongoing research results around the world, and allocating the resources needed to inspire the next generation of talented scientists that will lead the way to further innovation," she noted.

"Through the Programme," Al Mazroui continued, "we will continue to utilise the UAE’s immense knowledge capacities and resources to provide the solutions needed to ensure a better quality of life for those at risk in arid regions and beyond around the world."

"As we mark this year’s World Water Day, the UAE has once again demonstrated its inspiring and generous vision and commitment to making a real difference by leading the common effort to tackle water security as the basis for sustainable development and security for all," she concluded.











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