The 1st Hamburg Water Forum for the EMA Region

  • March 11, 2010
  • Hamburg Chamber of Commerce

Environmental protection and water management: Sustainable cooperation and know-how transfer in the EMA region

One of the central challenges of our time is the availability of the resource water. Especially the countries of the EMA region are facing great problems due to the shortage of high-quality drinking water. The right to clean drinking water is demanded not least by the United Nations and is a central component of the Millennium Development Goals.

With their expertise, German institutions and companies can offer important impulses and innovative solutions.

Innovations at the Water Forum for the EMA Region:

Last December, Federal Minister of Economics Rainer Brüderle assumed patronage of the Water Forum.

Due to the great demand, the Water Forum has been extended to the entire EMA region. In addition to the former host countries Syria, Jordan and Morocco, water experts from Iraq, Yemen, Egypt and Dubai, among others, will be welcomed in Hamburg.

The cooperation between Germany and the individual EMA countries has so far been mainly bilateral. There was no multilateral water forum for the EMA region. Due to this acute need for action, the Water Forum for the EMA region will be the first time that experts from science, industry and politics will present essential aspects of water issues and discuss them with an interested audience:

Main topics of the Water Forum

Socio-cultural foundations of water law; regional water distribution conflicts

Integrated water resources management

Public Private Partnership

Innovative water management

Water treatment

Wastewater disposal

Host countries


In particular, the three host countries Morocco, Syria and Jordan will be discussed:


The past rainy winter must not obscure the country’s water shortage. Besides agriculture, the main consumer of water, consumption is also increasing due to the booming tourism industry. In addition, deforestation endangers sustainable water production and polluted water reservoirs endanger the health, especially of the rural population.

→ current project tenders and investments:

In the next few years, Morocco will invest around €1.5 billion in improving drinking water supplies and in wastewater treatment. The construction of 20 new dams is also planned by 2020.


Overexploitation of the resource water has already made acute consequences of scarcity visible in Syria as well. In particular, inefficient purification and the discharge of polluted wastewater into existing waters pose a threat to the supply of drinking water and also to agricultural production. Experts therefore call for an integrated approach to water resource management and the development of investment projects.

→ current project tenders and investments:

Syria is dependent on the cooperation of foreign investors for both water treatment and infrastructure improvements. Projects such as the modernization of water pipes, as supported in Aleppo by KfW Entwicklungsbank (KfW development bank) to the tune of € 50 million, offer good investment opportunities, also for the German economy.


The country, 80% desert, has only limited capacity for agricultural use of its land. Nevertheless, enormous amounts of water are used for irrigation agriculture, which leads to an overuse of the already scarce groundwater resources. In addition, water management is characterized by inefficient infrastructures and inadequate wastewater disposal. The resulting rationing of water, in turn, poses health risks, for example, through the contamination of pipes or the use of uncontrolled water from private traders.

→ current project tenders and investments:

In addition to projects in the areas of water supply and sewage disposal, Jordan will continue to pursue the mega-project of the “Red Sea – Dead Sea” canal in 2010, which is intended to transport water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea 350 kilometers away.

All host countries are facing similar challenges that need to be highlighted in order to create sustainable, unified approaches. The know-how of German companies and utilities can be brought to bear particularly advantageously in a large number of projects in the EMA region. So far, this has only been done insufficiently. EMA and its cooperation partners see this as their main task.

09.00 a.m.   Reception
10.00 a.m.   Opening

Opening Speeches

  • Dr. Karl-Joachim Dreyer (Vice-President of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce)
  • Prof. Dr. Horst H. Siedentopf (EMA-President, Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Morocco, Hamburg)


  • State Secretary Christian Maaß (Board for City Development and Environment, Hamburg)
  • H.E. A. Nabi Mussayab (Ambassador of the Arab League, Berlin)
  • H.E. Dr. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid (President of the Arab Water Council, Arab Republic of Egypt)

Moderator: Senator (ret.) Peter Rehaag (Lawyer, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Yemen, Hamburg)

11.00 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.  Panels 1 & 2

Panel 1: Socio-Cultural Foundations of the Right for Water; Regional Conflicts for Water

  • H.E. Prof. Dr. Mohammed Al-Eryani (Ambassador, Republic of Yemen): „Challenges for Water Management in the Arab Mashreq region”
  • H.E. Dr. Hassan Hani Al-Janabi (Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Iraq at the United Nations, Department of Agriculture and Food, Rome): “International Cooperation in the Tigris-Euphrates river area.”
  • Dr. Martin Jungius (Foreign Office, Department for Environment and Biological Questions): „Water – Resource of Conflict or Source for Peace?“
  • Dr. Annabelle Houdret (Adelphi Consult, Berlin): “Domestic Conflicts on Water in the EMA-Region”

Moderator: Taoufik Ben Amara (UN-Botschafter a.D., Hamburg)

Panel 2: Integrated Water-Resource-Management (IWRM)

  • Muder Khalaf Abusnuber (Head of Section, Water Basins Affairs, WAJ/ Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan): “Integrated Water Resource Management”
  • Shawki Barghouti (International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, Dubai, V.A.E.): „Managing the Scarcity of Water in the Middle East”
  • Dr. Norbert Müller Blanke (TIA – Technologies for Industrial Grey Water Conditioning GmbH, Breitenfelde): „The Management of Industrial Grey Water in Kuwait and Syria“
  • Prof. Dr. Ing. Ralf Otterpohl (Technical University Hamburg-Harburg): „Water Efficiency and Multiple Use-examples for the Arab Peninsula“
  • Franz Huber (Cartography Huber, Munich): “Lis Aqua: Water Management for the EMA-Region”

Moderator: Birgit Tesic-Kurth (German-Jordanian Society, Hannover)

12.30 p.m. – 13.30 p.m.   Lunch / B2B-Talks

In a very successful event, the Water Forum 2010 was launched on the 11th of March in the historic ambiance of the Chamber of Commerce in Hamburg. Under the patronage of the Federal Minister for Economy and Technology, Rainer Brüderle, it served as a platform to discuss new ways for an efficient and sustainable use of water in the EMA-Region and to lay the groundwork for future cooperation.

“Clean water is a fundamental right for everyone,” proclaimed Dr. Karl-Joachim Dreyer in his opening speech at the Water Forum, instantly making the link to the special character of Hamburg where water has been instrumental in shaping the historic and economic development as in no other German city. EMA-President, Prof. Dr. Horst H. Siedentopf, underlined this fact in his conclusion that the Water Forum would be “the beginning of a lasting partnership for the development of water and for the welfare of all parties concerned.”

“No Water – No Money – No Life

Guest of honor and president of the Arab Water Council, His Excellency Prof. Dr. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid, pointed out, that the questions concerning the use of water were not only economic but illustrated the vital role of water as a basic resource of life with his statement “No Water – No Money – No Life”.

The Near- and Middle East is the region with the greatest water shortage in the world, where the impact of climate change is causing more than average effects. Thus, the improvement of the management and use of local water resources is a great challenge for the countries of the EMA-region. Against this background, the key topics of the Water Forum were the sustainable use of water, in particular the conditioning of water, the use of grey water and the management of sewers.

Close cooperation as the key to global, sustainable solutions

Economic, scientific, social and political representatives presented their experiences in the framework of six different panels and expressed their views on the possibilities and problems of a sustainable water economy in the EMA-region. The participants discussed technical innovations and the political framework, as well as possibilities of financial investment and aid in the water sector. In this context, the experts stressed the progress which the region has made over the last few years. All of the 250 participants as well as the 10 exhibitors shared the opinion, that the problems of water scarcity and water distribution could only be overcome by close cooperation of all parties concerned seeing as in light of the steady growth of the world´s population, an exchange of knowledge and technology will be decisive. Concerning the question of the implementation of binding rules for the conditioning of water it was concluded that more debates will be necessary. However, the need for a Euro-Mediterranean knowledge transfer – especially in the field of rules for the conditioning of water – was explicitly affirmed.

The close of the conference was held in the solemn city hall of Hamburg, where the participants were greeted by the director of the Senate´s chancellery, Mr. Stefan Helms. In his speech Mr. Helms underlined the importance of the Water Forum for the city and expressed his wish for an ever closer relationship between Hamburg and the countries of the EMA-region. The culmination of the occasion was marked by the signing of a cooperation agreement between the EMA and the Arab Water Council,represented by Prof. Dr. Horst H. Siedentopf and His Excellency Prof. Dr. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid, respectively. Similarly, the breaks and conclusion of the day gave the participants of the event the opportunity to exchange contact details and discuss joint projects.

The following day gave all interested participants the opportunity to visit the largest facility for wastewater treatment in Germany, the Klärwerk Köhlbrandhöft followed by a concluding social gathering in a laid-back atmosphere in the evening.

It is well known that at events the most important talks and meetings take place in the corridors…
The Gallery of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce offers representative locations for the presentation of your company, your institution, your work and your publications at the Water Forum for the EMA region. As you can also see on the site plan, the number of stands is limited – so contact us soon to discuss your exhibition and adapt it to your individual needs!
Site plan as pdf for download

Hansgrohe Deutschland Vertriebs GmbH | Grey water recycling. The AquaCycle from Pontos prepares shower and bath water for a second use in a patented biological-mechanical process without the addition of chemicals. It guarantees a constantly high water quality that meets the hygienic requirements of the EU directive for bathing water 76/160EWG.
Pontos is active in Jordan, among others.

 AQUABIOTEC is a leading German company in the field of municipal and industrial water treatment with headquarters in Hamburg/Lübeck. The company mainly supplies turnkey and standardized municipal wastewater plants with wastewater reuse (e.g. irrigation) for 1,000 to 10,000 connected inhabitants. In the industrial sector AQUABIOTEC is specialized in the chemical, pharmaceutical and petrochemical industry. AQUABIOTEC is active in Europe, North Africa and the Gulf States.

SIV.AG is one of the leading software and consulting companies with an exclusive focus on water management, among others. TheERP solution covers the most important business areas: Accounting, financial control, technical asset management, customer relationship management. The success factors of SIV.AG include innovative technologies, unique solutions and a well-coordinated team of more than 230 highly qualified employees.

Measuring and monitoring systems for water management As an internationally positioned company, SEBA-Hydrometrie has been developing and producing ultra-modern measuring and monitoring systems for applications in water management (ground/surface water, water quality, discharge measurement, meteorology and waste water) for more than 43 years. SEBA-Hydrometrie offers worldwide customer-friendly, customized system solutions (hard- and software) and is furthermore specialized in the implementation of measuring networks as well as technical maintenance and training.
With 90 employees and more than 100 representatives worldwide, high-precision and robust mobile/stationary measuring technology for all climatic conditions is successfully distributed in more than 140 countries.

Herman Sewerin GmbH | Electronic measuring instruments for gas and water leak detection. Herman Sewerin GmbH is an internationally successful, technically innovative family business. With top products and services we are the market-leading partner of the gas and water supply industry. The development, production and worldwide distribution of electronic measuring instruments for gas and water leak detection are our core competences. Herman Sewerin Gmbh has contacts in Libya, Morocco, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, among others.

 Weise Water Systems GmbH | Ultrafiltration membrane for water treatment with membrane bioreactors Weise Water Systems GmbH was founded in 2001 and produces exclusively in Germany the MicroClear� system, a submerged high-performance ultrafiltration module in plate design for water treatment with membrane bioreactors. Fields of application are municipal and industrial wastewater on land and at sea. We guarantee highest standards of water quality according to the EU Bathing Water Directive and DIN 19650, Class 2.

GSE Lining Technology, based in Houston (Tx), USA, is the world’s leading manufacturer of geosynthetics. At production sites on 5 continents, plastic geomembranes made of PEHD, LLDPE and fPP, tunnel sealing membranes, drainage mats, concrete protection slabs, bentonite mats and geotextiles are manufactured. The fields of application: Channels, water reservoirs, solid and industrial waste dumps, sealing against pressing water.

MAXX is a production company with the areas of development, production, sales and service. MAXX with its 20 years of experience is the technological market leader for automatic sampling systems, measuring stations for water, waste water, surface water. A special focus is the realization of customer-specific problem solutions, in the last 10 years more than 2000. MAXX is certified according to ISO 9001:2008.

The company aTs Abwassertechnik Service- und Handelsgesellschaft mbH is a medium-sized company specialized in environmental, water and wastewater analysis and measurement technology.
For more than 34 years we offer comprehensive know-how and quality products with competent planning, consulting and training. The company is active on the German � and increasingly on the international market.

GO System Electronics  | Measuring and control systems
VAG fittings | Water and waste water technology. For more than 130 years, VAG-Armaturen GmbH has been present wherever water is treated, stored and distributed. Individual valves and specialized engineering services make it a solution provider for industrial companies, power plants, dams, water and wastewater management. With almost 1000 employees, 180 sales representatives, 14 sales offices and 4 production sites worldwide, VAG-Armaturen GmbH is at home all over the world.

Master Course Integrated Water Resources Management
The bicultural master course |IWRM| is offered by the FH Köln in cooperation with the University of Jordan. Since 2007, in addition to the principles of IWRM, students have been taught skills that are essential for the successful implementation of international projects: intercultural competence, project and information management, and communication and leadership skills.
Sampler for water, wastewater and aqueous media

  • WaterSam| GmbH is one of the leading specialists in the development and manufacture of fully automatic samplers for water, wastewater or other aqueous media. The product range includes:
    Standard equipment such as various stationary and portable samplers for sewage treatment plants and industry
  • samplers combined with measuring instruments for monitoring water quality in canals and rivers or for industrial waste water
  • INLINE sampler for sampling from closed pipe systems
  • and customized special samplers designed and manufactured by WaterSam.
  • Eröffnungsreden
  • Panel 1: Soziokulturelle Grundlagen des Wasserrechts; Regionale Wasserverteilungskonflikte
  • Panel 2: Integriertes Wasserressourcenmanagement (IWRM)
  • Panel 3: Public-Private-Partnerships
  • Panel 4: Innovatives Wassermanagement
  • Panel 5: Wasseraufbereitung
  • Panel 6: Abwasserentsorgung

Other documents 
Conference Report
Press (Arabic)
Conference Brochure 

2010-3-11 2010-3-11 Europe/London The 1st Hamburg Water Forum for the EMA Region Hamburg Chamber of Commerce
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