21 Jan 2018 – 9:07

Mega reservoirs project nears completion

File picture shared on social media by Kahramaa

Sanaullah Ataullah | The Peninsula

DOHA: The first phase of the Water Security Mega Reservoirs Project, which is designed to increase storage capacity by a week during normal times and several months in case of emergency, is close to completion.

Under State’s strategy of providing multiple water resources to ensure the water security in Qatar, the Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) readied groundwater wells, distributed desalinated water producing units geographically and is all set to add a giant water reserve facility, said President of Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa), Issa bin Hilal Al Kuwari in a talk show on Al Rayyan TV.

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“Water security is very important because Qatar is geographically located in a desert and dried land where rainfall is low and groundwater stock is relatively low,” said Al Kuwari.

He said that Qatar is surrounded by sea, Arabian Gulf but the source is one that required diversification of sources to help in different situations, therefore, the government approved water security policy based on multisource.

“First source is producing water from desalinating sea water,” said Al Kuwari, adding that the country is running desalinated water production units at different places including Ras Abu Fantas, Ras Laffan, Umm Al Houwl.

New water plants will be established at other coastal areas of the country. “The geographical distribution enabled us to introduce diversification in taking water from different places for desalination but the sea as a source is one. If any contamination happens then. Therefore, the government moved towards another dimension (option) to store the desalinated water. As the existing storage capacity was limited so Water Security Mega Reservoirs Project, the largest concrete water storage facility in the world was launched at a cost of QR14bn in the first phase,” said Al Kuwari.

He said that this project, backbone of Qatar’s water policy has reached the stage of experimental operation. “First phase will be opened completely by mid-2018. The project is located at five places north, middle and southern parts of the country. Every location has several tanks as there are a total of 15 tanks with a capacity of 100 million gallons per tank.”

“First phase of the project will add 1,400 million gallon storage capacity to the existing storage capacity 1,000 million gallons water,” said Al Kuwari, adding that the second phase of mega reserve water project will provide 2,300 million gallons by 2025. He said that the tanks of Water Security Mega Reservoirs Project can pump enough water to meet the requirements for seven days with regular consumption but in emergency cases it could be extended for months depending on the situation. “Water security policy was made and it was approved by the government to cover normal condition to comfort the citizens and expatriates and help expand the economy,” said Kahramaa chief adding that the storage facility in case of any emergency will be able pump water for weeks and months with a restructured distribution programme.

Qatar also has a ready-to-use groundwater stock underwater security plan. He said that groundwater is in limited quantity in Qatar and it is considered precious resource of the country, therefore, law and regulation were made to regularise its uses. “We prefer desalinated water from sea for daily consumption to preserve the groundwater and regularize the uses of groundwater for agricultural purpose,” said Al Kuwari.

He said that Qatar will achieve water and food security without harming groundwater reserve, adding that country has many groundwater wells and certain areas are considered strategic areas for groundwater security.

“We have groundwater wells enough for people in Qatar in emergency. The wells are equipped with tanks linked with pumping stations. We keep testing the wells regularly and they are fully capable to operate any time.”

Al Kuwari added that these wells were renovated in an advanced scientific way. “We placed plumb-line in the wells to measure the quantity and quality of the water, contamination and other necessary things.”

He said that the groundwater wells are equipped with water pumping motors to take out the water whenever needed. “Now they are working with electricity with option to operate with diesel-powered generators. Plans are afoot to connect them with solar power system,” said Al Kuwari.