Gulf nations investing heavily in water sector

water  james.rintamakiThe GCC initiative is aimed at improving desalination technologies and waste water recycling. (Image source: james.rintamaki/Flickr) GCC governments have earmarked more than US$100 billion for investment in the water sector for the period between 2011 and 2016

According to a report by Ventures Middle East, GCC countries have been investing heavily in projects to improve desalination technologies involving solar energy and maximising waste water treatment and recycling technology.

A joint research project by the Euro Arab Organisation for Environment, Water and Desert Ranches and the University of Jordan, said that the Arab world would witness a water crisis around 2025, which has led the region's governments to take the preventive measures.

The UAE has planned several wastewater treatment and recycling projects to improve water management practices. Abu Dhabi will add more than 30 million gallons per day of desalination capacity to its water network after receiving the green signal for a power and water plant extension at Mirfa.

Elsewhere in the UAE, the electricity and water authority for Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, 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.

Qatar has also been looking at increasing its capacity in both the wastewater and water areas. It has been considering new technological processes through independent water and power projects, with the largest being the Ras Girtas project, which is currently under construction in the Ras Laffan industrial complex.

Meanwhile, the Public Authority of Electricity and Water in Oman has been planning to build strategic water storage reservoirs in Muscat in order to overcome a crisis situation if desalination plants were disrupted. Again, the Kuwait Ministry of Electricity and Water has been constructing two reverse osmosis desalination plants that would produce nearly 50 million gallons of water per day.

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

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

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