MEDRC webinar debates water security amid COVID-19

A MEDRC-organised public webinar on the theme, ‘Water Security and COVID-19: Learning and Beyond’, on Monday convening leading water experts from Oman and the Netherlands to exchange on responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event focused on analysing the impact of COVID-19 on the provision of water services, highlighting solutions and lessons learned based on the experiences of invited speakers.
It also showcased the findings of Dutch water researchers working on the development of a key indicator tool for measuring the severity of COVID-19 in communities through wastewater sampling.
Among the guest speakers and presenters were; Abdullah al Naimi, General Manager of Operations, Diam; Marwa Abdullah al Mahdouri, Process Engineer, Haya Water and Frederic Been, Sewer Surveillance Research Scientist, KWR Water Research Institute. The Dutch Ambassador for the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Oman Laetitia van Asch and Dr Jauad el Kharraz, Head of Research at MEDRC, were also in attendance.
MEDRC Centre Director, Ciarán Ó Cuinn who could not join the webinar due to prior commitments said, “The global pandemic has reinforced the role water plays in keeping populations safe and well in times of crisis.
Water utilities are on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic as essential health service providers, working to keep clean water flowing, managing waste and monitoring the spread of disease.”
During the webinar Dr Frederic Been of the KWR Water Research Institute in the Netherlands summarised how wastewater surveillance could help gather data to map the extent of the virus in populations, providing critical information and acting as a powerful early warning tool to alert the health authorities, well before reported cases occur.
The expert panel discussed topics such as the fate and inactivation of the virus during water treatment, sewer surveillance, operational difficulties, impacts on water professionals and responded to questions from participants.
The event was held with the support of the Embassy for the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Oman, KWR Water Research Institute, Watershare, Diam and Haya Water.