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OMDEREN

Muscat, Oman - April 27th, 2016, MEDRC has launched a national network of desalination researchers in Oman (OMDEREN). The network will promote knowledge exchange and transfer between Omani researchers, identify best practices to improve desalination processes and explore innovative technologies used in different parts of the world. Oman already has many excellent researchers working on desalination technologies and related topics in Oman. This MEDRC initiative aims to support coordination and cooperation between them.

This network will have a clear mandate to explore the possibilities for environmentally sustainable water desalination in Oman and the viability of its use. The idea of gathering the desalination experts is also to make their research more visible, and identify who is doing what to boost synergies and build collaborative works and joint projects.

At Omani level, there are two major and immediate consequences of climate change: first, rising sea levels will affect coastlines and marine life severely and could impact on desalination plants that are the source of freshwater, and not only the rising sea levels, but also the emerging threat to the desalination industry coming from harmful algal blooms (HABs). Second, rising temperatures result in increasing water demand and with falling freshwater levels and increasing salinity in seawater, which could further compound water scarcity. Therefore, desalination of seawater and brackish water will be more and more demanded to cope with that increasing water scarcity. Hence, researchers should be able to propose adequate solutions taking into account the economic, environmental and social dimensions, and also their research should come up with innovative ideas to be further developed and nurtured.

In addition, this hub will identify good practices for the improvement of desalination technologies in terms of energy cost and environmental impact reduction.

The idea of gathering the desalination experts is also to make their research more visible, and identify who is doing what to boost synergies and build collaborative works and joint projects.

The topics of interest will be defined and agreed in a first meeting of the experts according to the national and the regional priorities. It may include (non-exhaustive list): research in nanotechnology and membrane technologies (including how to reduce its cost), dealing with brine (how to minimize or mitigate the impacts of residual disposal on the environment.), environmental impact assessment, research on costs (treatment, energy and disposal), RO implementation, brackish groundwater desalination, use of renewables in desalination, demonstration projects, capacity building, etc.

Those voluntary experts will be called to:

  1. Review the national and regional policies regarding non-conventional water resources, mainly desalination of brackish water and sea water;
  2. Identify national and regional needs in terms of desalination technologies;
  3. Identify useful experiences at local, national, regional and international levels
  4. Identify specific areas of research to be developed;
  5. Reach an overall better understanding of the most efficient and cost effective solutions to produce water in areas with scarce water resources; 
  6. Analyze existing desalination technologies and detail the advantages and the constraints,
  7. Create the basis for additional related action in the region,
  8. Coordinate their work with existing national and regional networks and initiatives
  9. Prepare recommendations and follow-up actions,
  10. Disseminate results and carry out joint demonstration activities, etc.