Terrorism: A Different Type of Water Threat In The Middle East

Via The Khaleej Times, an article on a different kind of water war threat in the Middle East.  As the report notes:

“…Prince Khaled Bin Sultan, assistant minister of defence and aviation for military affairs, has urged Arab countries to take precautions against possible terror attacks on water resources.

Inaugurating the Third International Conference on Water Resources and Arid Environments and the First Arab Water Forum in Riyadh on Sunday, Prince Khaled said, “I call on you, being the decision makers, to take necessary steps to confront such threats.”

He said terrorists may target water resources and destroy desalination plants or poison rivers, pipelines, wells and underground water.

Prince Khaled called for a world summit to deal with an impending global water crisis and sought measures to prevent the effects of climate change on water and water resources.

“Climate is the main factor for rains, the basic requirement for economic and social development. It will be the first to be affected by climate change and the Arab world would not escape this phenomenon,” he explained.

He stressed the need to protect water resources and prevent its wastage.

Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah Al Hussayen said the demand for water increased three times during the second half of the last century when the world population increased from 2.5 billion to six billion.

Saudi Arabia has limited water resources but the consumption per capita is above 250 litres per day, one of the highest rates in the world.

A 45 per cent increase is expected in Saudi Arabia’s population to 36.4 million by 2020. Total water supply in the kingdom is now estimated at 52 million cubic metres (MCM) a day.

Saudi Arabia will require an investment of more than $200 billion for power generation projects during the next 15 years in order to meet the needs of its growing population and economic development. The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) has projected that water demand in Saudi Arabia will rise to 24,200 MCM by the year 2025, broken down as follows: 6,450 MCM for domestic use, 16,300 MCM for agriculture, and 1,450 for industrial consumption.

According to ESCWA, the kingdom leads other Gulf countries in water consumption due to increasing requirements of its agricultural and industrial sectors, particularly, petrochemicals, cement, foods and beverage production.

“Most industrial activities (in the Gulf region) are confined close to major urban centres, requiring competition with the domestic sector to satisfy water requirements.”

“In urban areas with concentrated industrial activities, industrial water requirements represent the major aspect of water consumption,” ESCWA explained.

“In most of the GCC countries, field development and petrochemical industries are considered to be water-use intensive, and rely on groundwater supplemented with surface water, desalination, and a limited amount of recycled water,” it added.

Water leakages are a main source of wastage of this precious liquid. In Jeddah, 30 per cent of water is lost every day due to leakages and wastage…”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 at 2:59 pm and is filed under Saudi Arabia.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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