The Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water was honoured to send a Party-level delegate to the Conference of the 23rd Conference of Parties on Climate Change, which was held at the UN Campus in Bonn Germany from 6-17 November 2017.

PSIPW shared with other delegates its experience and expertise on water harvesting under uncertain climate conditions. The presentation was part of the event “Global awareness for sustainable future: private sector behaviour within the UN framework.”

PSIPW sponsors a dedicated research chair in water harvesting and groundwater recharge, established in 2007 with Dr. Zekai Sen -- who was part of the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- as the chair’s professor. One of the main goals of the chair is to determine how to develop a rainfall harvesting programme that can be responsive to the demands of climate change.

PSIPW is also involved in a number of water harvesting and recharge projects in Saudi Arabia, namely the King Fahd Water Harvesting and Storage Project, the Prince Sultan Project for the Rehabilitation of Villages and Hamlets, and the Riyadh Flood Control Project.

The PSIPW representative emphasised that “climate change means disruption”. Some places will become drier and others will become wetter, with weather patterns becoming more extreme. In Saudi Arabia, rains will come more intensively for shorter periods of time, adding that “We have to plan for this uncertainty. This is one of the greatest challenges we face while developing future water harvesting projects in the Arabian Peninsula.”

He demonstrated how adapting existing infrastructure for water harvesting is crucial in dealing with future uncertainty. He also explained how groundwater recharge using harvested water can be effective for areas experiencing increased rainfall as well as for those suffering from decreased precipitation, by adapting the techniques to respond to the situation.

He also explained how assisting communities in employing small-scale water harvesting systems within agricultural areas for the direct use of rainfall can help mitigate the uncertainty brought by climate change for the local inhabitants.