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Tribune News Network
Qatar’s per capita use of water is one of the highest in the world – estimated at over 500 litres per person per day, according to experts who recently spoke on the topic of ‘Water in a dry land: Can innovation drive water security?’
The discussion, which formed part of a series of events for Catalyzing the Future, held at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation (QF) Research, Development and Innovation, will be streamed online on ‘Science Mag’ on November 13 at 8pm.
As Qatar continues its journey of self-sustenance by growing its own food, building its own industries, hiring a larger workforce, the demands on this precious resource is growing rapidly. Local agriculture production has jumped by 400 percent since 2017, and the October population statistic stands at over 2.7 million. Despite being a dry land, Qatar is expected to keep up with the rising demands of water.
“Qatar and other Gulf states will always be dependent on desalination as the prime solution for a drought-free situation; however, this is an energy intensive process. The question remains what other alternatives can we develop in the country,” said D Samer Adham, manager, ConocoPhillips Water Solutions, Qatar.
Although 75 percent of the Earth is covered in water, only 3 percent of it is fresh water, and less than 1 percent of this water is accessible to us.
“There is enough water in the world, but it is saline. Therefore, desalination should be given the highest priority in research and development,” Dr Ahmed Abdel-Wahab, professor of Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University at Qatar, said.
While the physical amount of water available on our planet is known, it is also known that economic security can influence water security. “Although Qatar has a very small natural resource base, and because it is a wealthy country, it is able to generate water. Everybody in Qatar has water 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We don’t think of Qatar as being water insecure,” said Dr Rachael McDonnell, strategic programme director for Water, Climate Change and Resilience, International Water Management Institute.
Major investments are being made in the research and development of desalination and other technologies that are not only being used for Qatar, but for the rest of the world. “A few international companies are interested to demonstrate their technologies in Qatar. If these technologies work in Qatar’s harsh environment, they will most likely work elsewhere in the world,” said Dr Huda al Sulaiti, director of the Water Sciences and Technology at Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute, Hamad Bin Khalifa University.
The event can be viewed on https://www.sciencemag.org/custom-publishing/webinars/water-dry-land-can-innovation-drive-water-security.
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