Water scarcity forcing GCC govts to invest $100 billion in projects

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saudi desalination plant
The Marafiq Independent Water & Power Project supplies Jubail and Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. The Jubail desalination complex, located along the Persian Gulf, supplies 90 percent of the drinking water for the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Photo – CircleofBlue.org

Population growth and deterioration of water quality has prompted GCC governments to embark on major spending to combat water scarcity and ensure sustainable resources for the future, a latest report said.

According to Ventures Middle East, GCC governments have earmarked more than $100 billion in their water sectors between 2011 and 2016 to improve desalination technologies involving solar energy, and maximise on waste water treatments and recycling.

Toray Membrane, a renowned European company specialising in water and wastewater treatment technologies, said it has introduced a series of new product lines tailored to suit the water quality and operating environment in the Middle East.

“The main focus of our water and wastewater treatment technologies is on energy saving, plant efficiency and performance,” said Rolf Richard Keil, Deputy General Manager of the Middle East branch at Toray Membrane Europe, one of the few companies with expertise across the entire spectrum of high performance water treatment membranes.

According to joint research by the Euro Arab Organisation for Environment, Water and Desert Ranches and the University of Jordan, the Arab world is likely to witness a water crisis around 2025 unless effective steering mechanisms for sustainable water management and measures to reduce the agricultural consumption of water are applied.

The UAE has planned several wastewater treatment and recycling projects to improve water management practices in order to meet rising demand of this scarce and costly resource. Abu Dhabi will add more than 30 million gallons per day of desalination capacity to its water network following a green light for a power and water plant extension at Mirfa.

“It is a well known fact that water is one of the scarcest resources in the MENA region and that Gulf countries are among the world’s top ten producers of desalinated water,” Abdulla Saif Al Nuaimi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA), said.

“Desalination currently provides two-thirds of the water requirements in MENA, and the new urgency and high priority assigned by governments to investments across the water desalination sector in the region is therefore not a surprise.”

Elsewhere in the UAE, FEWA, the electricity and water authority for Ajman, Ras Al Khaima, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah, will implement ultra-filtration as a pre-treatment step for the first time at its Al Zawrah seawater reverse osmosis plant in Ajman to produce 115 million litres per day of pre-treated seawater to feed the reverse osmosis membrane system.

Qatar is also looking to increase its capacity in both the wastewater and water areas. In doing so it is considering new technological processes through independent water and power projects, the largest being the Ras Girtas project, currently under construction in the Ras Laffan industrial complex.

Meanwhile in Oman, the Public Authority of Electricity & Water plans to build strategic water storage reservoirs in Muscat in order to overcome a crisis situation if desalination plants are disrupted.

Kuwait Ministry of Electricity and Water has also announced the construction of two reverse osmosis desalination plants in Doha, northern Kuwait, which will produce nearly 50 million gallons of water per day.

“The water sector is a major challenge for GCC states which are among the most water scarce countries in the world,” said Anita Mathews, Exhibition Director for Power + Water Middle East. “The problems of water shortage and water security are now being addressed and the relevant factors which influence the water resources identified.”

Power + Water Middle East has been bringing together since 2007 developers, manufacturers, buyers and service providers from a range of sectors in power and water to meet, discuss and invest in the current products and technologies in the related industries.

The exhibition has so far attracted more than 100 exhibitors from 25 countries wishing to network and offer solutions to regional power generation, water and nuclear energy industries.

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