The role of desalination in augmentation of water supply in GCC countries

ene-31 de 2005 / Volumen 186


ISSN: 0011-9164



The growth gap between supply and demand for water in the GCC countries can be attributed to limited available surface water, high population growth and urbanization development, deficient institutional arrangements, poor management practices, water depletion and deterioration of quality, especially in shallow groundwater aquifers. Increasing demand for water in the domestic sector has shifted attention to the role of desalination in alleviating water shortages. Experience in the Gulf states demonstrates that desalination technology has developed to a level where it can serve as a reliable source of water at a price comparable to water from conventional sources. Desalination remains in GCC countries the most feasible alternative to augment or meet future water supply requirements. It is considered a strategic option for satisfying current and future domestic water supply requirements, in comparison to the development of other water resources. Reduction in cost is making desalination increasingly attractive in comparison with other alternatives. In this paper, the present and future water statues in GCC countries is outlined. The role of desalination for augmentation of water supply and the future needs for desalinated water are discussed. The cost analysis and the approaches for reducing the cost of desalted water are outlined. Increasing the investment in the research and development to reduce the costs through improved design and operation features is very important. Development of a water policy and effective strategies in each country for stressing the sustainable water resources management and optimizing allocation of water in accordance with market value, conservation, pollution control and cooperation among water involved institutions is also essential.