PSIPW’s Chairman, HRH Prince Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, who is the honorary president of the Arab Water Council (AWC), presided over the AWC’s 4th General Assembly meeting which was held in Cairo, Egypt from 29-30 February 2016.

After being introduced at the opening session by AWC president, His Excellency Dr. Mahmoud Abu Zeid, Prince Khaled addressed the assembled water ministers and other prominent officials from the Arab world about the state of water resources in the region, especially the dangers and challenges that confront the region’s potable water faces in its potable water. He also suggested a number of solutions for safeguarding and managing the region’s water to mitigate these concerns.

The elections for the AWC’s Board of Trustees for the 2016-2018 term was held concurrently with the 4th meeting of the General Assembly. One of the outcomes of the vote was to elect the Prince Sultan Bin Abdualziz International Prize for Water, represented by its General Secretary Dr. Abdulmalek Al Alsheikh, to one of the council seats designated for research organizations.

A number of workshops on various topics were also held concurrently with the meeting, including: “The Use of Brackish Water for Agriculture in the Near East and North Africa as a Conservation Strategy” which was held in cooperation with the United Nations FAO. A separate workshop was held to prepare the publication of the Third Report on the Arab Water Situation.

Another workshop saw the launch of “The Arab Non-Traditional Water Resources Initiative” in cooperation with UNESCO. This workshop included the participation of both HRH Prince Khaled and PSIPW’s General Secretary Dr. Abdulmalek Al Alsheikh.

Dr. Al Alsheikh, who is also the Director of King Saud University’s Prince Sultan Institute for Environmental, Water and Desert Research, discussed the Institute’s extensive initiatives since 2001 in developing Saudi Arabia’s runoff water harvesting and storage capabilities. These include the King Fahad Project for Rain and Runoff Water Harvesting and Storage and the Prince Sultan Project for the Rehabilitation of Saudi Arabia’s Villages and Hamlets. These efforts have been highly successful, with the strategic construction of dams, recharge pipes, and artificial lakes to maximise the use of the very brief but substantial flash flooding events that typify Saudi Arabia’s rainfall patterns. The delegates participating in the workshop praised the efforts of King Saud University’s Prince Sultan Institute and resolved to present a resolution to the League of Arab States to initiate similar rain and floodwater harvesting and storage initiatives in every Arab country.