Kahramaa works to meet Qatar's rising water needs

Qatar’s daily demand for water and power is expected to rise sharply in the coming years, Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) forecasts

Kahramaa is working to upgrade Qatar's water infrastructure.
Kahramaa is working to upgrade Qatar's water infrastructure.

Water demand in Qatar is forecast to increase by more than 50% by 2022, rising to 482m imperial gallons per day (MIGD), up from the present level of 308 MIGD, according to Qatar's General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa).

The increase in water requirements will have to be met through desalination. The surge will also fuel demand for electricity.

Ground was broken on the first of five reservoirs in May 2015, the initial stage of a $4.6bn (QR17bn) project to enhance the country’s water security.

“This will increase potable water storage capacity to about 3.5bn imperial gallons, ensuring seven days of unrestricted water supply,” Essa bin Hilal Al Kuwari, president of Kahramaa, told OBG.

“This can be extended to up to four weeks with controlled consumption. It will also help to ensure water supply reliability, as well as security,” he added.

In addition, another major project in the pipeline is a new power and desalination plant in Umm Al Houl, known as Facility D. Final contracts were signed for the construction and operation of the plant in May 2015, with the $3.2bn independent water and power project awarded to K1 Energy, a consortium between Japan’s Mitsubishi and Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco).

When fully completed in 2018, Facility D will produce 2400 MW per day of electricity and 130 MIGD of water. It is located about 20km to the south of Doha.

An international tender was issued last year by Kahramaa, which signed a power and water purchase agreement (PWPA) with K1 Energy and partners Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC), Qatar Petroleum and Qatar Foundation.

According to a statement lodged with the Qatar Stock Exchange, the PWPA will have a 25-year term and the project will help to boost the country’s installed daily power generation capacity to 11,000 MW and water production to 535 MIGD.

The provision of technical services for the development and another project, the Ras Abu Fontas A3 desalination plant, have already been commissioned to Spanish firm Acciona.

The Ras Abu Fontas A3 desalination plant, will produce 36 MIGD. Both projects, worth an estimated $525m, will utilise reverse osmosis membranes to purify seawater, the first time such technology has been used in a large-scale processing facility in Qatar.

85% of the funding for the Facility D project would be sourced from local and international commercial banks and export credit agencies, with the balance coming from shareholders’ equity, QEWC, the joint venture partners said in a statement submitted to the country's stock exchange in May 2015.

The country’s issue can be laid at the door of a growing population and an expanding industrial base. According to a report from Qatar National Bank, the country’s population rose 8.7% year-on- year in April 2015 to reach 2.3m, an increase of 187,000 over the last 12 months.

The recent expansion, coupled with a significant ramp-up in spending on major infrastructure projects, is putting increasing pressure on the country’s utilities. Further population growth for 2015 however, is expected to ease to around 7%.

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