|Water: A 21st Century Challenge: CoE Conference a well attended success|
The water challenges that we experience today are clear. The increasing population growth, urbanisation, increased industrial activity, and climate change are amongst the many factors which give rise to water problems. Now more than ever, countries are faced with this problem in a similar way as they are faced with problems related to energy. For this reason, the design of appropriate water management strategies becomes essential. Scientists and engineers are required to create immediate solutions for the present as well as for the future.
During its Annual Conference held on 9th May, the Chamber of Engineers tackled the issue of water sustainability from a number of different view-points, including water management, innovative desalination technologies and a detailed look at the local scenario. The conference aimed to analyses ongoing developments and challenges being faced both locally and internationally.
The event was opened with an address from the Hon. Dr. Mario de Marco, Minister for Tourism, Culture and the Environment and Inġ. Saviour Baldacchino, President, Chamber of Engineers.
Dr. Avi Ostfeld, from the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa then delivered the keynote speech entitled “Science and Application of Water Management”. Dr. Ostfeld gave an overview of conceptual issues involved in science and applications of water management for water resources systems modeling, including simulation tools, optimisation methodologies and integration approaches. He also demonstrated a new approach to incorporate water resources management objectives into the design and operation of water resources systems.
Dr. Ostfeld was followed by Eng. Dirk De Ketelaere from the Malta Water Association who discussed the paradigm shifts in our country’s attitude to water policy, as well as the Association’s call for a third paradigm shift - to address prevailing and climate change concerns through integrated water resources management.
Mr. Geoffrey Saliba, Project Manager of the EU Life+ Investing in Water Project within the Malta Business Bureau discussed the project, which aims to identify water saving solutions for businesses and hotels, thus leading to a reduction in water consumption by at least 10% amongst interested enterprises. Mr. Saliba also presented water consumption benchmarks for several industries and hotels of different classifications, to provide an accessible reference point.
Other speakers included Dipl.-Ing. Michael Bucher, from the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO), in Stuttgart, Germany. Dipl-Ing Bucher examined urban structures of the future through “Morgenstadt”, a project currently being undertaken by Fraunhofer. He also highlighted the efforts of the Fraunhofer Water Alliance “SysWasser”, which focuses on transferring sustainable system solutions for water recovery, infrastructure and wastewater purification into practice oriented applications without neglecting the social, economic and ecological consequences involved.
Ing. Paul Refalo from the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Malta then presented an overview of renewable desalination technologies, covering solar and wind energy technologies. He showed that realisation and optimisation of such projects aim to achieve a sustainable, environmentally friendly desalination process.
Ing. Refalo was followed by Mr. Manuel Sapiano from the Regulation Unit within the Malta Resources Authority (MRA), who illustrated the experiences gathered during the first two years of the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan in the Maltese Islands. Mr. Sapiano presented an overview of the various initiatives which have been undertaken by the MRA and other public entities. He also highlighted the main emerging challenges for the Maltese water sector which this implementation process has identified and outlined the future research needs required to address these issues.
During his intervention, Ing. Marco Cremona of Sustech Consulting challenged the conventional way of looking at water and wastewater processes, by showing that an innovative approach to a problem can lead to interesting and stimulating solutions.
Ing. Michael D'Amato of Panta Marketing & Services Limited then discussed the concept of providing safe drinking water, and the various disinfecting processes which have been used over the years. Ing. D’Amato also elaborated on the most advanced technology, chlorine dioxide and discussed its method, effectiveness and economics.
The science and application of water management was covered by Mr. Timothy Waldron – Chair of the International Water Association, Water Loss Specialist Group. Mr. Waldron highlighted many specialist engineering practices that are being applied in countries of high scarcity, and also showed how great leadership from experienced engineers will be essential to deal with all 21st century water issues.
A case study of the AIS SCADA System implemented for the Water Services Corporation was presented by Ing. Mario Schembri, Chairman of Advanced Industrial Systems Limited (AIS) Group of Companies. SCADA, standing for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, refers to process control and data gathering hardware and software and is used widely in industry in diverse applications such as factory wide automation, power plants, oil and gas refining, telecommunications, transportation, as well as in water and waste control.
In a final presentation, ancient and late medieval water management systems in Malta was discussed by Mr. Keith Buhagiar, from the Department of Classics and Archeology at the University of Malta. Mr. Buhagiar presented an overview of past water management and harvesting techniques used in Malta from the 8th century BC, till the closure of the Late Medieval period, in the first half of the 16th century AD.
Ing. Marc Muscat, CEO of the Water Services Corporation then wrapped up the conference with his concluding remarks.
The Chamber of Engineers’ ongoing mission is to safeguard the interests of the engineering community by promoting the profession. This conference is just one example of the activities and courses organised by the Chamber of Engineers, in order to provide engineers with a platform to contribute their expertise and share ideas on national issues, such as the water challenges our Islands are facing.
|Last Updated on Monday, 21 May 2012 20:08|