IDA holds World Congress in Brazil
International Desalination Association comptroller and past president

Latin America is the place where modern desalination began, and it is a region where desalination and water reuse needs are set to grow exponentially. Many countries in Latin America have come a long way in the use of desalination and reuse technologies, from Brazil to Mexico, Venezuela to Peru, and Argentina to Colombia. It is a large market, full of opportunity.

Latin America represents one of the largest future markets for desal and reuse. The region has a population of more than 650 million people. This presents a growing demand to develop industrial activities and support urban expansion.

Latin America is one of the most urbanized regions in the world, with approximately 80 percent of its population living in urban areas. It is projected that urban population will reach 674 million in 2050 according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

ida 2017Opening ceremony at the IDA 2017 World Congress, São Paulo (Courtesy of the author)

While meeting the growing demands of urban populations is a priority, the need for a sustainable water supply extends across the region. Brazil is already the frontrunner worldwide in programs to provide sustainable small desalination units to communities in remote areas. São Paulo has concluded that reuse must be part of its planning. The states of the northeast have also realized that they must desalt their water supplies.

IDA recently concluded its 2017 World Congress, held in São Paulo. It was our first World Congress in Latin America, and it was a successful, well-received event. Widely recognized as the most important global event for desalination and water reuse, the IDA World Congress provided an ideal platform to share knowledge and experiences from around the world with Latin American utilities, industrial end users, technology providers and other regional stakeholders.

Conversely, it also provided a very productive avenue to acquaint members of the desalination and water reuse industry from the rest of the world with the abundant business opportunities that await in the region.

The interest in desalination and reuse in the region was evident from the response to the World Congress, including the strong support that the Brazilian and São Paulo state governments gave to the event.

Our World Congress in São Paulo also represented a step forward in helping IDA achieve our vision for an expanded community that includes not only technology providers, but also government policy makers, technology users, the international finance community, global think tanks and NGOs. Panels with institutions such as the World Bank, UNESCO, FAO (the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), Inter-American Development Bank and IHE Delft Institute for Water Education were part of the event.