SUPPLYING SUSTAINABILITY

UAE, Sharjah 2017 | ENERGY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to HE Dr. Rashid Al Leem, Chairman of Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA), on the role of innovation and collaboration in achieving Sharjah's sustainable future.

HE Dr. Rashid Al Leem
BIOGRAPHY
HE Dr. Rashid Al Leem is recognized as one of the 100 most influential CEOs in the Middle East and has worked across sectors in government and non-profit organizations. He is the founder of Alleem Knowledge Centre and the author of The SEWA Way, which showcases the 15 principles and provides a roadmap for achieving success in both an organizational and personal scale. Among his several honorable title and awards, he was named Exemplary Leader in the UAE by the Multinational Business Academy in 2017.

Could you elaborate on SEWA's innovation in creating a device to detect and prevent water spills, and how it will be implemented to better conserve water?

The water management device is a prepaid device that is installed in Africa to control the supply and billing of water. Over 10 million devices have been installed there. In the UAE, we do not have the prepaid system yet; nevertheless, SEWA brought it in to control the supply of water to buildings. After installing and testing it, the device demonstrated superb results; it can both control water supply and provide alerts of an internal leak in any building. SEWA's water department installed it in all government buildings to only provide water supply during office hours and also to set a maximum flow to these buildings in the event that a leak occurs. Also, we are installing the management device in all Sharjah mosques to prevent any leaks or misuse of water. Finally, a few pilots were tested in villas and on verified leaks, and the device was proven to prevent leaks.

What opportunities for synergy have you been able to explore as a result of SEWA's collaborations with the American University of Sharjah (AUS)?

SEWA signed an MoU with AUS and Sharjah University to collaborate with them in the fields of energy, water, and innovative efficient practices. The synergy between up-to-date know-how and best industrial practices will produce creativity and innovation. SEWA hopes to offer innovative solutions to its customers during this collaboration, such as evaluation of water consumption patterns for different purposes as well as methods and techniques of rationalization of consumption, assessment of groundwater in Sharjah using GIS and remote sensing, assessment and development of gray water reuse systems and related policies, and the examination of water systems and certification of their performance. In terms of research, we expect to explore opportunities such as using solar energy to power air conditioning; tapping into hybrid solar, photovoltaic, and thermal energy; and managing electrical loads using independent hybrid power systems. We are also exploring campus sustainability in energy and water.

How will SEWA's MoU with Meinhardt modernize Sharjah's water storage infrastructure?

Meinhardt Singapore, a leading global multidisciplinary engineering and project management consultancy, and SEWA signed an MoU to create a collaborative platform to assist SEWA in its mission to provide world-class strategic planning, design, operations, and management of its water supply infrastructure. Meinhardt has identified six initiatives to modernize the water storage infrastructure in Sharjah; these include planning and engineering design consultancy services for the strategic water storage reservoirs for water crisis management and capacity building for SEWA. Through training programs held in Singapore, Meinhardt will share its global expertise for efficacious implementation and management of Sharjah's water infrastructure.

What are the biggest challenges in ensuring the supply of electricity and water to the entire Emirate?

The biggest challenge is to sustain the supply through strategic and innovative plans that provide security of supply in a cost-effective way for residents today and future generations. SEWA has also entered into a venture with Bee'ah and Masdar on a new waste-to-energy facility, which is a landmark achievement in the region's renewable energy projects portfolio and a key step in the realization of the UAE's vision for a sustainable future.