WDRC celebrates World Water Day 2023

30 April, 2023

Group photo-2b

The Water Desalination and Reuse Center celebrated World Water Day on March 21, 2023.

KAUST celebrates each year World Water Day in solidarity with the UN's efforts to focus on the global importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The theme for this year is "Accelerating Change," which calls for more action to meet SDG 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030. This year, the Water Desalination and Reuse Center (WDRC) took the lead in calling various groups within KAUST to participate in the celebration of World Water Day, which turned out to be a big success with community members sending positive feedback about the proceedings.


This annual event is considered an excellent opportunity for the WDRC to share its commitment by raising awareness of its research efforts to create greener and more sustainable desalination, wastewater treatment and reuse, and agricultural water monitoring in Saudi Arabia. The WDRC celebrated on March 21st by preparing activities that highlight the importance of water, its source, consumption, management, and guidance on making sustainable choices that will impact our environment:

  • The WDRC Lab tour. The lab team welcomed visitors to show the state-of-the-art facility and its specialized analytical equipment used in water research. Visitors also saw the set-ups of the various research groups in the center. 


Dr. Najeh Kharbatia, and  Mohammed ElShaer gave a tour of the analytical equipment.


  • A science exhibition held at the level 2 lobby of the Al Jazri building showcased the work of different research groups on the topics of desalination, wastewater treatment, and water monitoring:
  1. SandX and CarboSoil for Improving Soil Health, Water-Use Efficiency, and Crop Productivity in Arid Lands (PI: Himanshu Mishra | presenters: Batool Albar, Ph.D. student and Aeisha Salem, MS student)
  2. Earth Observation Tools for Food and Water Security (PI: Matthew McCabe | presenters: Victor Angulo Morales and Omar Camargo Lopez, Ph.D. students)
  3. Fouling monitoring in desalination with RO membranes (PI: Hans Vrouwenvelder | presenter: Natalia Franco Clavijo, Ph.D. student)
  4. Sustainable Desalination Technologies (PI: Noreddine Ghaffour | presenters: Najat Amin, and Sarah Almahfoodh, Ph.D. students)
  5. Challenge: How much salt is present in the Red Sea and the Dead Sea (PI: Hans Vrouwenvelder | presenters: Marian Castrillón-Tobón and Damaris Soza, MS students)
  6. Decentralized Wastewater Treatment System (PI: Pascal Saikaly | presenter: Lucia Ruiz Haddad, Ph.D. student)
  7. WDRC Desalination Pilot Facility (presenters: Dr. Umer Altaf, Acraf Boussira)




  • The "Bottled Water-Taste Challenge," led by Dr. Graciela Gonzales Gil and Ph.D. student Yasmeen Nadreen (under the supervision of WDRC Director, Prof. Hans Vrouwenvelder), aimed to guide the community members in making a more sustainable drinking water choice that will impact KAUST and the kingdom. In this two-hour activity, the team presented four kinds of drinking water (two commercial brands, KAUST-tap water, and KAUST-filtered tap water) and asked the participants to compare its taste. Over 60 visitors participated in the event, demonstrating the engagement of the community. The event was held in collaboration with the Health and Safety Department at KAUST.



  • Finally, the WDRC Students Committee hosted games and activities to entertain and encourage visitors to focus on the takeaway messages of the presentations.



It was an eventful week at KAUST, with activities catering to varied age groups and interests happening across the campus to celebrate World Water Day. Learn more about the KAUST activities for World Water Day 2023.