Qatar is increasing its desalinated water reserves to confront challenges confidently

July 11, 2010

Qatar’s existing desalinated water reserves can last for only one-and-a-half days in case of an emergency, a Qatari official has warned.

However, the size of the reserves is being increased to meet the country’s water requirements for one week in a period of crisis and Qatar hopes to be ready with the increased capacity in about two years, Ali Saif Al Malki, the head of water networks at the Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa), has said.

The capacity upgrading is part of the country’s strategy to ride over a possible water crisis in future and new reservoirs are being built to help achieve the strategic goal.

Al Malki said six water desalination plants at present produce 270 million gallons of water per day, but the figure is set to reach 325 million gallons when the seventh plant comes on stream, Qatari daily The Peninsula reported on Sunday.

Increased production will meet fast growing demands for water from both residential as well as industrial users all over the country over the next five years, he said.

Qatar’s water distribution networks have 4,200 kilometres of pipelines, and plans to link upcoming industrial and commercial areas to the networks will boost the figure.

However, desalinated water remains a precious commodity and the law was enforced in 2008 to help rationalise its use and prevent its waste. Water is subsidised by the state and is provided free to Qataris.

According to Al Malki, water in Qatar is safe for drinking and random samples are regularly taken from various spots and tested for quality at the laboratories of Kahramaa as well as at Qatar University.

The labs are equipped with the latest technology and can spot microbes or any other pollutants in water. “Our focus is on water safety and the water meets the latest specifications of the World Health Organisation. We continually clean the water pipelines as well,” he said, quoted by the newspaper.

Referring to recycled sewage water used in water public lawns and gardens, Al Malki said Qatar had been using sewage water recycling techniques since the 1970s, giving the country a vast and time-tested experience.

Al Malki said that water was a precious utility in the Arab world and that around 80 percent of Arab countries use desalinated sea water.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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