I finished this entry almost two weeks ago, but for some reason forgot to post it. In any case here it is!
The water study tour was an amazing experience in many different senses. First of all, I had the chance to visit and learn about countries that I had not seen before. Turkey and the UAE are fascinating countries with a tremendous wealth of history and culture that have given me a wider perspective of the world. Secondly, the different visits that enabled me to learn very interesting intricacies about issues surrounding fresh water, one of the most important resources for human life and development. Although I had different expectations of what we would see and learn, the tour gave me a realistic view on where the water issues in these two nations are developing into.
One of the main conclusions that I have been able to draw from this experience is that the water constraints and needs faced by different nations are unlikely to be the same. Such different situations in terms of needs, natural and economic resources, geography, culture, etc. will cause diverse approaches and therefore there is no silver bullet that will address all issues. In this particular case, Turkey is a nation that has significantly more water resources than the UAE, and as a result, Turkey is at this point more concerned with efficiently tapping into these resources and securing their sustainability. In contrast, the UAE being a country that has very scarce water resources, but that in comparison has accumulated an abundant economic wealth, is heavily concerned with finding and securing sustainable sources of fresh water. Importantly, the UAE is investing in research and development that is enabling it to understand the limitations and consequences of the technologies that it adopts and the policies that it pursues. In the end, both countries have created a wealth of knowledge related to water that will be of benefit not only to their inhabitants but to other nations. Although there is no single approach for dealing effectively with water issues and ensuring the resources for serving future water needs, after the trip it is clear that achieving these purposes requires a deep awareness about both the sources for fresh water and the management of this resource. As other nations begin to face their own constraints for serving future water needs, they will have to choose the approach that suits their situation best. Such nations will need to find the right balance between securing new sources of fresh water, sustaining their existing resources, and managing consumption and water reuse.