Gassan Mutwali, director of strategy & business development, Xylem, says that wastewater treatment plants face issues of aging infrastructure, need for operational efficiencies, and a dynamic regulatory environment.

In an interview with MEP Middle East, Mutwali said: "Utilities are increasingly prioritising asset optimisation, efficient non-revenue water solutions and intelligent networks and systems. This has led to a shift and drive towards smarter systems and digital solutions."

He said that Xylem’s recent acquisitions of companies like Visenti and Sensus enables it to create a differentiated offering with regards to leakage management, communication systems, metering technologies, applications and data analytics that improve utility operations worldwide to achieve operational efficiencies. 

Mutwali added: "Water security is important for a region that has around 5% of the world population but less than 1.5% of the world’s renewable freshwater resources. Water security needs to be addressed from both a demand and supply point of view.

We need more awareness programs and conservation, as well as more stringent regulations. Every year, around 1.7 trillion gallons of water is lost because of leaky and broken pipes. 

And 10 billion gallons of raw sewage is released into waterways, as a result of insufficient infrastructure. Investing in new infrastructure, and updating existing infrastructure, is a quick win with big benefits. 

"Water re-use is another exciting area that is gaining momentum. Governments can achieve better water security by investing in wastewater collection systems and water re-use technologies.

In Kuwait, for example, Xylem supplies solutions to a wastewater treatment and reclamation plant in Sulaibiya that processes 600,000m3 of wastewater per day.

Our technologies are utilised to help Kuwait draw maximum value from its limited water supplies, a process that is of particular importance for a country that receives less than 120 millimetres of annual rainfall. Another instance is a treatment plant in Saudi Arabia, where an integrated wastewater treatment system from Xylem will help the facility generate 200,000m3 of treated water per day."

Mutwali's complete views will appear in the 1209 issue of MEP Middle East's special report on Water Technology, which will be out on the first week of September 2017.