water losses in excess of 50% per annum in mena region

Published February 20th, 2008 - 12:13 GMT

water losses in excess of 50% per annum in mena region
• Increased water efficiency required across the region
• Metito warns of looming water wars

Metito, the international desalination, water, and wastewater treatment specialist, urged governments and the private sector to accelerate the deployment of efficient water appliances. Speaking at the Water Efficiency seminar at Grand Hyatt hotel in Dubai, Metito warned that costs due to water leakages are on the rise – most notably in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Lebanon, where losses run at more than 50 percent.

Half the water produced does not reach the public resulting in a waste of a regionally scarce resource. Global Water Intelligence has published information indicating that the percentage losses in the water system in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq have reached 50%. This means, half the water produced does not reach the public resulting in a waste of a regionally scarce resource. It is worth mentioning that the UAE’s losses percentage is as low as 11% which is below the acceptable limit of 15%. This sets the UAE as one of the lowest raking countries in terms of water losses in the MENA region.

The lack of efficient infrastructure is increasing pressure on the region’s already stretched demand for fresh water. The amount of available fresh water in the world is fixed and nearly 70% of that is inaccessible: held in the polar ice caps, glaciers, and the permafrost (soil at or below the freezing point of water). Of the 10.7 million km3 which is accessible, the vast majority (10.5 million km3) is underground. The remaining 135,000km3 is contained in rivers, lakes and wetlands. These accessible freshwater resources are distributed unequally around the world, exacerbating the challenges posed by water scarcity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Robert Smith, Head of Utilities Operations, Metito said, “The most effective response to water scarcity is better use of the water we have. More water must be saved. In every area of usage there is scope for improving water efficiency. Utility providers can reduce losses by imposing usage restrictions and encouraging their customers to install water efficient appliances. Water efficiency gains made by better performing water utility companies and equipment have been known to reduce domestic consumption by as much as 15%.”

At the seminar Robert also discussed concern over leakages from water systems in the Middle East which are relative higher than in Europe, even though water is scarce commodity in the region.  Unless both governments and the private sector address this, the Middle East could witness water wars.

Metito, founded in 1958, is a shining example of a Middle Eastern company that has grown to be a world leader in its field.  Metito operates locally in 14 countries of the Arab and Islamic World, and supplies its plants internationally to locations as far apart as Argentina and Australia from its base in the UAE.  Some of the company’s notable achievements in 2007 include the rehabilitation of the Hartha & Najibiyah power stations in Iraq, the water supply to Pelindo ports in Indonesia, drinking water supply to Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt and the innovative reuse of water at The Palm, Jumeirah.

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