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Kuwait faces huge challenges in meeting drinking water demands - Official
March 23, 2015, 8:34 am
Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Electricity and Water for Planning and Development Dr. Mashaan Al-Otaibi

Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Electricity and Water for Planning and Development Dr. Mashaan Al-Otaibi said Sunday that the Ministry is facing various challenges in its endeavors to meet the growing demand and achieve self-sufficiency of portable water.

"On top of the challenges are the growing population, urban communities' expansion and the highly water-consuming lifestyle," Al-Otaibi said in a speech, he read out on behalf of the Minister of Electricity and Water Ahmad Al-Jassar at a function held on 23 March to mark the World Water Day.

He estimated per capita of drinking water for people living in Kuwait at 70 cubic meters a year. "This is much below the international water poverty line of 500 cubic meters per person a year," he regretted.

"To fill this gap and meet the growing demand for portable water, Kuwait has established a number of highly sophisticated water desalination stations nationwide." Al-Otaibi unveiled that the total production of Kuwaiti desalination plants is about 530 million imperial gallons.

"There are plans to increase water production up to 900 million imperial gallons in the coming seven years," he boasted. He clarified that the under-construction Az-Zour North project will produce nearly 100 million imperial gallons by 2016, to go up to 200 million imperial gallons by 2020.

Furthermore, Doha desalination plant will produce 60 million imperial gallons by 2019 while Khiran desalination plant will produce 125 million imperial gallons by 2022.

"Kuwait also plans to increase portable water reservoir to 5,000 million imperial gallons," he noted. Al-Otaibi stressed the importance of changing people's lifestyle to conserve water consumption.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Director of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Kuwait Dima Al-Khatib lauded Kuwait's mega projects which aim to meet the growing demand for drinking water. She also highlighted various challenges facing Kuwait's plans to produce and achieve self-sufficiency of high-quality portable water.

Several keynote speeches were also delivered at the event which hosted included a variety of activities such an exhibition as well as an awareness raising performance by school students.

World Water Day aims to increase people's awareness of the water's importance in all aspects of life. It is held on March 22 each year. The international observance of World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.

The First World Water Day was first observed in 1993, in conformity with the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development contained in chapter 18 (Fresh Water Resources) of Agenda 21.

Each year, one of various UN agencies involved in water issues takes the lead in promoting and coordinating international activities for World Water Day. A number of NGOs promoting clean water and sustainable aquatic habitats have used World Day for Water as a time to focus public attention on the critical water issues of our era.

World Water Day activities include visual art, theatrical and musical celebrations of water, educational events on the importance of clean water and protecting water resources, campaigns and events to raise money for access to clean and affordable water, special broadcasts on television and radio and the Internet, walks, runs, and swimming competitions.

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