Diversification key for infrastructure development
Water security, energy conservation and healthcare provision remain key infrastructure targets for region, conference told
Energy conservation, afforable healthcare and sustainable water supply are three key challenges facing the UAE's current infrastruture network according to ARCADIS CEO Wael Allan.
Allan, who is today chairman of the annual Construction Week UAE Infrastruture Summit being held at the JW Marriott Maquis in Dubai, said the three key challenges are not unique to the UAE, but they present unique issues for planners, officials and the government.
"2015 is an interesting year. While Dubai has diversified its economy away from oil, the UAE stll very much remains a hyrdocarbon fuelled economy - and all currencies in the region are pegged to te US dollar. We are very much reliant on what happens there over the next 12 months."
"Transportation remains a major issue. We can't go on relying on the car for mass transit; the UAE's hospitality and leisure industry has been a tremendous success in helping to build Dubai as a luxury destination - and affordable healthcare will become a mounting issue over the next five to 10 years."
"It's estimated that 50-60% of the GCC population is overweight, with a significant number of peple suffering from high blood pressure. That is ony going to place increasing pressure on the healthcare infrastructure of the UAE over the coming few years."
Water, Allan said, remains a major concern for most governments. It is not only expense to produce through forced desalination, but several countries lacked adequate storage to help secure supply should production be interrupted.
"Water security is also a major issue for many countries. Some countries, at present, only have 1-2 days in reserve and there are massive projects and mega reservoir projects underway to help push that out to two or three weeks."
The conference continues throughout the day and will cover a vast range of infrastructure projects, planning, industries and projects planned for the UAE, with particular focus on Dubai as it builds towards Expo 2020 and the legacy projects the event will leave the city.