Water. desalination + reuse

May/June 2014

Water. Desalination + reuse

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INTERVIEW | 38 | Desalination & Water Reuse | May-June 2014 Why did you want to become president of the International Desalination Association (IDA)? I am deeply honoured to have been selected as president of IDA. I have a dream and I am passionate about having a sustainable resource. Everyone is talking about sustainability, but I think sustainability is now a reality. I would take the theme of this conference we are at (Global Water Summit - Paris), which is Water For Growth, and change that to Sustainability For Growth. This subject is very interesting to me, because without sustainability you cannot have real engagement from everyone. Secondly, sustainability goes with renewable energy, because using solar and other sources of renewable energy will also lead us towards more sustainability. If you look at the original source that we have been using for desalination, which is seawater, you cannot find a more sustainable resource. I want to see progress with innovation for all the technologies that lie within the renewable sector. A lot of effort is taking place in research centres and academia. What do you think needs doing in IDA, now you have had a chance to get your feet under the table as president? I think that is a very interesting question. A lot has been done in the past by IDA, and I acknowledge all the work that has been done by other members since the organisation's creation 40 years ago. I would Abdullah Al-Alshaikh, president of the International Desalination Association Abdullah Al-Alshaikh and Robin Wiseman like to be remembered as a person who worked within a team in a cooperative way, with everybody involved. I think we have a lot of experts with beautiful minds on this board, and we would like them to have an input and add a value to its work. IDA has a lot of committees. Are you happy with the way they are or would you like new ones? I don't think we have a problem with the number of committees, but I feel the committees should function better than they are doing now. Some of them are fine and doing good work; some are not – maybe they are waiting for a direction or something. That's part of engaging and involving everybody. In one of my first messages after becoming president of IDA, I said that we would like to create Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the organisation – a measure of how the body performs. That will help us to know exactly how we are doing with regard to our strategy, our vision and our mission. We are currently working with Ann Seamonds (whose firm Seamonds & Company provides corporate communications services for IDA) to develop a five-year strategic plan that is supposed to start this year. The KPIs will be embedded in this plan and will appraise our vision, mission and objective goals. Do you think these performance indicators will change IDA a lot? It will help. There is a saying "Things you cannot measure you cannot Abdullah Al-Alshaikh, deputy governor for planning and development of Saudi Arabia's Saline Water Conversion Corporation, was elected as president by the board of the International Desalination Association (IDA) at the IDA World Congress in Tianjin in October 2013. He talked about his new role to D&WR editor Robin Wiseman at the Global Water Summit in Paris in April 2014.

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