Mohamed bin Zayed Water Initiative & XPRIZE launch Water Scarcity competition

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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XPRIZE Water Scarcity
Rep.Image | Courtesy: WAM

The Mohamed bin Zayed Water Initiative and XPRIZE, have announced a partnership with an investment of $150 million to launch the XPRIZE Water Scarcity competition, which has a total prize purse of $119 million.

The five-year global competition aims to encourage innovators around the world to focus on transforming the reliability, affordability and sustainability of water desalination technologies.

The Mohamed bin Zayed Water Initiative is dedicated to raising the importance of water scarcity on the international agenda and accelerating the development, testing and deployment at scale of transformative and sustainable technological solutions to address the threats it poses to people, businesses and communities worldwide.

Working with its partners, the initiative seeks to harness the power of targeted investment, accelerated technological innovation and expanded international cooperation to address this worsening challenge.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan_Mohamed bin Zayed Water Initiative-XPRIZE partnership
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan
UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Chairman – Mohamed bin Zayed Water Initiative

“The solutions that currently exist to address the water scarcity crisis are not sufficient to prevent a range of unacceptable scenarios from occurring. New solutions are therefore urgently required, and the Mohamed bin Zayed Water Initiative is committed to collaborating with stakeholders from around the world to uncover these new ideas, to prove their viability, and to bring them to fruition as efficiently as possible.”

Global water scarcity is a rapidly growing problem impacting people and communities around the world. Studies have shown that as many as four billion people experience water scarcity for at least one month per year. The drivers of increasing water scarcity are varied and include population growth and demographic change, infrastructure and governance challenges, as well as environmental pollution and climate change.

Without effective action, global water scarcity is projected to have an array of devastating consequences, including loss of life and humanitarian crises, food insecurity, mass migration, geopolitical instability, and potentially even armed conflict over water. Governments, the private sector, researchers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, international organizations, and individuals all have a crucial role to play in overcoming the far-reaching consequences of water scarcity.

The establishment of the Mohamed bin Zayed Water Initiative is part of a wider UAE-led effort to address global water scarcity, which included the publication of a detailed discussion paper on the subject in September 2023, entitled “Ripple Effect: Water Scarcity – The Hidden Threat to Global Security and Prosperity.”

The discussion paper, which remains available for download from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is a global call to action for a more decisive and coordinated international response to this worsening issue.

Peter H. Diamandis, MD, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board of XPRIZE, said that, “XPRIZE Water Scarcity is a global call to scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to convert water scarcity into water abundance by using converging exponential technologies to address this critical global need. XPRIZE Water Scarcity, our largest competition to date, is a first of its kind focused on creating new desalination solutions to unlock Earth’s ocean water to clean water for all, in an equitable and sustainable fashion.”

The partnership with the XPRIZE Foundation, a global leader in designing, launching and implementing large-scale competitions to address the most pressing challenges facing humanity, aims to spur innovation by incentivizing crowd-sourced, scientifically viable solutions to create a more equitable and abundant future for all.

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