By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Over 500 water experts and lawmakers will gather at the rapidly shrinking Dead Sea next week to discuss ways to manage scarce water resources.

International water utility representatives, experts and academicians will convene at the sixth International Water Association Specialist (IWA) Conference on Efficient Use and Management of Water (Efficient 2011) on March 29, officials announced on Monday.

During the five-day event, experts will explore the impacts of drought, climate change and water loss among other global water challenges, Ministry of Water and Irrigation Secretary General Maysoon Zu’bi said during a press conference yesterday to announce the conference.

“Exploring new water resources, such as desalination, is costly, therefore; applying water demand management delays the need for such new resources,” Zu’bi told reporters.

The conference seeks to shed light on the current global water crisis and find solutions to water challenges, particularly for countries that suffer from water scarcity such as Jordan, said Zu’bi, who heads the conference’s organising committee.

Efficient 2011, organised by the ministry, USAID and the IWA, will run through April 2 and will be held under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah, with HRH Prince Feisal acting as conference chairman.

Participating countries are expected to showcase their experience in water demand management and success stories in optimising water efficiency, as well as ways of dealing with drought, Zu’bi said.

During the conference, participants will also present the water demand management experience in the Kingdom, the fourth water-poorest nation in the world.

“Jordan’s experience in water demand management represents a successful model for other countries that face water scarcity and climate change,” Zu’bi said.

On the sidelines of the conference, an exhibition will be held featuring 32 local and international exhibitors including contractors, consultants and companies in the water sector.