Leaders gather at Doha power and water conference
Attendees at the ‘Electricity and water desalination in Arab countries’ conference were urged to reduce wastage in all applications to help ensure water and power security in the region
The two-day ‘Electricity and water desalination in Arab countries’ conference opened on 22 February, in the presence of Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani .
The Minister of Energy and Industry H E Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada stressed the importance of investing in electricity infrastructure to boost development.
The country achieved a 100 percent access to electricity several years ago, he said and added that Qatar is gearing to invest in improving its smart electricity grid to absorb energy from clean sources.
Dr Al Sada pointed out that Qatar relies on natural gas as its only source of electricity, which is the cleanest source of energy and in the future, the country will rely on renewable energy, particularly solar.
The Minister said that rationalising the use of electricity in 2015 saved the country QAR825mn on electricity and QAR522mn on water, which also decreased the carbon footprint by 3.5 million tonnes.
He noted that the Middle East is one of the world’s driest regions, where the average availability of water is 1200 cubic metres per person — much below the global average of 7,000 cubic metres, with the averages worldwide set to half by 2050.
Essa bin Hilal Al Kuwari, president, Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) and chairman of Arab Union of Electricity, encouraged the members to come up with effective and enforceable suggestions to safeguard water security and electricity for the region.
He also pressed attendees to complete electrical networks between Arab region’s countries and to reduce water wastage in all applications, including agriculture, industry and domestic and to review government subsidies for electricity and water.
Al Kuwari urged the conference for the creation of regulatory frameworks for integration of energy and water policies to realise the required sustainability goals.
He also encouraged scientific research to cover all aspects of production and consumption in the areas of energy and water, and to increase renewable and new energies in power generation, in particular solar and wind energy.
Al Kuwari said the Arab region is suffering a scarcity of water as a result of climatic and natural conditions, including the scarcity of rain and lack of river water.
Arab countries’ demand for water is estimated at about 261 trillion cubic metres, with a shortfall of 42 trillion cubic metres.
This will rise to 319 trillion cubic metres between 2020-2030, with a shortfall of 119 trillion cubic metres and, as demand increases to 393 trillion cubic metres in 2040-2050, the shortfall will increase to 194 trillion cubic metres.
Al Kuwari said desalination in the Arab region is one of the traditional solutions to reduce the gap between supply and demand, with GCC countries producing 57% of desalinated water worldwide.