Gulf kingdoms call for common policy over water
The six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) decided Sunday to work out a common policy on water, of which the annual shortfall is 15 billion cubic meters.
The ministers of water and electricity meeting in Riyadh ordered a committee to work out such a policy, the GCC's secretary general, Jamil Hujailan, told journalists.
They also recommended to make the Jubail center for research on desalinating sea water (in the east of Saudi Arabia) a regional center for the GCC, to unify prices and to even out consumption of drinking water in the six countries, he added.
The GCC water shortfall could rise to 50 billion cubic meters by the next century, the Bahraini Public Works Minister Ali Ibrahim al-Mahrus, said the start of the meeting.
The six countries (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar, have dozens of water desalination plants, as the quality of their underground water has degraded by excessive pumping through rising demand.
In January, Saudi Arabia commissioned the Japanese Somitomo Corporation to build a desalination plant costing $2.2 billion.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse 2001.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)