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Medios y documentación


Water initiative

28 mayo 2011

Qatar could substantially reduce its dependence on desalinated water if ecofriendly wastewater treatment systems are adopted on a large scale.

An example in this connection is Gulf Contracting Company (GCC) which is turning 1.4mn gallons of sewage from one of its labour camps into as much recycled water per month and saving about QR2.4mn a year.

“There is no need to remove sewage in trucks and we save up to 20% of fresh water,” GCC operations manager Andrew Ford told Gulf Times during a visit to the camp at Umm Salal.

The human waste and all other liquid waste generated by 1,600 workers, living in one section of the camp, are being put to highly productive use through technology from Canadian company Bionest.

“Bionest has been developed over 14 years and more than 16,000 units are installed across the world,” Bionest Middle East managing partner Robert N Lord said.

Among the various environmental concerns facing Qatar, the most pressing is linked to the country’s most acute scarcity — that of water, according to the National Development Strategy 2011-2016.

With one of the world’s lowest levels of rainfall, Qatar relies on water from three sources: desalination, groundwater and recycled water, and all three face stresses.

Per capita household water use is one of the world’s highest. People living in Qatar consume on average 310 litres each day, more than double the average for Western European countries.

Qatar has become increasingly dependent on water produced from seawater, by means of costly and energy-intensive thermal desalination, which accounts for about half the water used in the country.

But with rapid population growth and urbanisation, the volume is soaring: use of desalinated water has tripled since 1995, reaching 312mn cu m in 2008.

Increasing demands on desalinated water are projected to continue - with heavy water losses, a growing population and higher household use.

Based on current trends, consumption through 2020 is expected to increase 5.4% a year for Qataris and 7% a year for expatriates.

As of 2009, studies show that Qataris consumed 1,200 litres per person per day whereas expatriates consumed 150 litres per person per day.

Compared with other countries, Qatar has low water tariffs (free for Qatari households and low-cost for non-Qatari households) that recover less than a third of the costs of water production.