Sunday, November 8, 2009

Water Grid to Sustainable Growth of GCC

Saudi Arabia plans to phase out production of all water-intensive crops that have depleted the desert kingdom's scarce water supplies, Saudi's water and electricity minister said yesterday."We have a plan to phase out all the production of water intensive crops in order to preserve water," said Abdullah bin Abdul-Rahman Al Husayen on the sidelines of an industry conference in Dubai.The crops include wheat, soya beans and animal fodder, he said, declining to comment on when the crops will be phased out. "It would be best to grow these kinds of crops outside Saudi Arabia."Agriculture accounts for 66 per cent of human water consumption worldwide, according to the World Water Council. And in Saudi Arabia where the resource is already scarce, the government is towards more conservation in the agriculture sector.The kingdom needs around 2.6 million tonnes of wheat annually, and the government said last year it would rely entirely on wheat imports by 2016."Imports and growing water intensive crops outside Saudi is a more feasible option for us," said Husayen.Like other wealthy Gulf states, Saudi Arabia has been buying foreign farmland in Asia and Africa to secure food supplies after inflation had nearly doubled the price of food last year.So far foreign investors have acquired some 15-20 million hectares of farmland in poorer countries since 2006, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Food security will remain a significant issue for the Middle East and North Africa due to supply uncertainty on one hand and a growing population and looming water shortage on the other, a report from Standard Chartered (StanChart) Bank said.Although food prices have dropped by a third from the peak of mid-2008 food crisis, prices are now rising again and are 80 per cent higher than the recent low in mid-2002."This marks the resumption of a longer-term trend of rising prices, driven by the increasing cost of agricultural production to meet the inexorable rise in demand for food commodities," it said.While Mena, particularly GCC, has the financial resources to purchase food commodities, it is nevertheless facing the issue of how to feed its rapidly growing population while also maintaining living standards.The report, The end of cheap food, says the region is inclined to import more food to address this problem.But the whole region still faces a further long-term food security risk, as it relies on the proceeds of hydrocarbon sales to buy food, it said.Mena is a highly import-oriented economy as it faces a shortage of water resources, which makes it difficult to grow water-intensive crops such grains. Besides, there is a large demand from a young, growing population.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia, which leads the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council in terms of ambitious organic farming projects and by setting up a private sector Saudi Organic Farming Association (SOFA), is currently mapping out a comprehensive action plan for the development of organic farming and food.
Saudi Minister of Agriculture Fahd Balghunaim, who was elected president of the 10-member SOFA board of directors, said, “The Saudi government has been backing the initiative to promote organic farming with the help of the German technical agency GTZ.
“Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has donated SR10 million, while Crown Prince Sultan has given SR5 million to support this initiative and to ensure the production of organic food to the highest standards and quality.”
The project initiative known as “Introduction of Organic Farming into Saudi Arabia” is being promoted by GTZ, said Agriculture Minister Balghunaim.
The GTZ is also responsible for preparing the organizational set-up for SOFA, while offering its expertise to the ministry in order to prepare a regulatory framework for organic farming in Saudi Arabia.
The SOFA, he said, was also entrusted with the task of monitoring organic production, protecting farmers and promoting consumer awareness. The move is in line with the policies of European countries, which are also working on the development of organic farming and food as agreed in the Copenhagen Declaration.

Water and Food is Greatest of Challenge and Sustaianble Development is Solution- Water Grid is the Future for Dry GCC

Presently waste water is treated and dump into the sea but this is just waste of the resources. When there is water scarcity and every drop of water is precious much more is required to be done. When GCC is talking leadership is talking of single GCC market, Single economy and Single Currency. The work on single Electric Grid is already underway and progressed very well. This success will definitely encouraging and soon there will be single Railroad for GCC.
The biggest challenge of the century is Food and Water. What are we doing for it?
Think……….it is the biggest challenge………………….. Food and Water
Solution has to be innovative. And one of best option at hand instead of throwing treated waste water in the sea develop water grid, make desert green and provide this water for agriculture.
Single water grid for GCC
Where treated waste water is flow into single pipeline and supplied across the desert to make it green and Agriculture land. This will be most beneficial option. Instead of throwing treated waste water into sea let us use it to make advance of desert and for agriculture. Clean, and green sustainable future.
Major Issues and Challenges Arising from Topography, environment and weather conditions
· Water
· Agriculture
· Environment
· Health

ü Limited water supplies of variable quality
ü Increasing gap between demand and availability
ü Lack of a comprehensive strategy for water resources
ü Fragmented institutional framework
ü Limited enforcement of legislation to protect water resources
The Desalination and Advanced Water Reuse becomes and extremely important tool in the Integrated Water Management. The establishing optimized models and example of effective implementation of desalinated projects trough IWPP will provide in short term the critically needed desalinated water.To meet the challenge, large-scale dual-purpose power/desalination plants are built to reduce the cost of production of electricity and water. Thermal energy extracted or exhausted from power plants is used effectively in the desalination process. In the author’s estimate, over 30,000 MW of power is combined with desalination plants in the largest use of the cogeneration concept. There are unique conditions in the many arid countries and particularly in the Gulf where peak demand for electricity rises significantly during summer mainly because of the use of air-conditioning, and then drops dramatically to 30-40% of summer capacity. This creates situation that over 50% of power generation are idled. In contrast, the demand for desalinated water is almost constant. Water can be stored while electricity storage is not practical. Cost-effective integration of three proven technologies, desalination, power and aquifer storage recovery (ASR) can secure a reliable, sustainable and high-quality fresh water supply for the Gulf States. The seasonal surplus of unused idle power could be used by electrically driven desalination technologies RO and Hybrid Systems including NF/RO/ MSF process in combination with ASR creating a system of Desalination/ Aquifer Storage and Recovery (D/ASR). The ability to store and recover large volumes of water can contribute to the average downsizing of power and water facilities with substantial operational cost savings. D/ASR provides strategic reserves of potable water, to prevent damage or depletion to existing oasis or aquifers, for controlling salt-water intrusion, or improvement in water quality. D/ASR is of strategic importance to the Middle East
Today the Water availability and security is even more of a critical concern and became a more important priority for the Middle East Region. In addition, the critical need for a reliable water supply creates an opportunity for the leadership to demonstrate its management abilities by supporting a program to substantially improve the availability of water and provide security of its supply.Fresh water is no longer the infinitely renewable resource that we once thought it was. Unlike oil, fresh water has no viable substitute. The sea is the unlimited source from which we can create new fresh water through desalination This century demands creative solutions. It requires effective integration of energy resources to generate power and to economically create and store desalinated water. Confronting the water challenge is essential to a country’s sustainable development and to the security of its communities. Water will be the most important resource of this century. The GCC countries installed over 15.9 million m3/day desalination plants, equal to 42% of global installed capacity and which constitute over 50% of all municipal water supplies. Equally important, most of the countries have only one to three-day of water supply in storage, meaning that if the plants providing the desalinated water or the pipelines transporting the water to the cities were disrupted, major water shortages would immediately be the result.The Middle East countries, particularly the Gulf Cooperation Council States- GCC is the biggest users of desalination technology a 42%, and significantly more over 60% of the world’s seawater desalination capacity. It is in the Abu Dhabi where commitment for new desalination capacity is the greatest. To meet the challenge, large-scale dual - purpose power/desalination plants are built to reduce the cost of production of electricity and water. Sewage treatment capacity will have to more than double over the next six years, according to new MEED Insight report GCC Wastewater 2009.
Utilities are seeking to meet robust demand and replace antiquated infrastructure, it says.
Despite the onset of the worst economic downturn in a decade, the outlook for the GCC wastewater sector - one of the most active over the past five years - remains bright, the report says, with almost $10bn of investment planned in new treatment capacity up to 2015.
The existing wastewater infrastructure has been under severe pressure since 2004 when strong economic growth, an expanding population base and an upsurge in real estate activity led to significant increases in sewage inflows and serious overloading at treatment plants across the region.
The late 2008 collapse in the oil price and subsequent real estate downturn put a brake on the runaway growth in demand, particularly in Dubai where leading real estate developers have cancelled or reduced in scope a string of sewage treatment plant (STP) projects in response to the real estate crash.
Across much of the region, the existing STP infrastructure is more than 20 years old and incapable of meeting today’s demands, both in terms of handling volumes and treating effluent to international standards. It has become a priority, therefore, for utility providers across the region to take existing plants out of service and replace them with new capacity.

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