Tag Archives: water scarcity

Saudi Arabia to build world’s largest desalination plant

The Saline Water Conversion Corporation yesterday announced its plan to establish the world’s largest desalination plant in Rabigh, northwest of Jeddah, with a capacity of 600,000 cubic meters of water daily.

“Work on the project will start in the first quarter of 2014 and will be completed in 2018,” said Muhammad Al-Thubaity, director general of SWCC in the Western Region, adding that allocation for the multibillion riyal project has been made in this year’s budget.

He said the new plant would supply water to north Jeddah, Makkah and Taif. The capacity of the present desalination plant in Rabigh has been increased to 20,000 cubic meters daily to supply drinking water to Khalees and Rabigh.

Al-Thubaity said the new Rabigh plant, which will follow reverse osmosis system, would meet water requirements of cities and villages around Rabigh. He emphasized SWCC ‘s determination to supply adequate amount of water to all parts of the Kingdom.

SWCC currently produces around 20.7% of the total world production of desalinated water. Around 88.5 percent of water supplied by SWCC is produced by large MSF plants, 10.6 percent produced by large RO plants, which are combined with existing dual MSF/power plants and 0.9 percent is produced by small size (satellite) RO, MSF and ME plants.

SWCC announced last year that it wanted to add nearly four million cubic meters of capacity to its desalination portfolio over the next 15 years. SWCC , the largest procurer of desalination infrastructure in the world, anticipates a gap of about 1.5 million cubic meters between water demand and supply from current facilities by 2025.

New plants are under construction in Ras Al-Khair and Jeddah, which will provide an extra 1.3 million cubic meters. SWCC has identified capacity expansions at Shuqaiq, Shuaiba and Jubail, plus two new plants apiece at Alkhobar and Yanbu, as a way of adding a further two million cubic meters to its capacity.

by Anric

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Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Investments, Water


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Coming Era of Water Scarcity Will Prompt Global Industrial Transformation, According to Survey of International Experts

Acute water shortages will change strategy, business operations; depletion of global water resources is more rapid, severe, and complex than anticipated.

Coming Era of Water Scarcity Prompts Global Industrial Transformation

Photo © 2009 Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty Images for Circle of Blue.

By Keith Schneider
Circle of Blue

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Population growth, urban development, farm production, and climate change is increasing competition for fresh water and producing shortages so acute that virtually every industry in the world anticipates sweeping systemic transformation over the next decade in their strategic planning, production practices, and business models.

These findings should sound the alarm for companies that haven’t yet established robust water strategies.”– Chris Coulter, senior vice president at GlobeScan

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Confronting Water Scarcity & Energy Demand in China

Choke Point: China is an on-the-ground report that displays in text, photographs, and interactive graphics the powerful evidence of a potentially ruinous confrontation between growth, water, and fuel that is already visible across China; a confrontation that is virtually certain to grow more dire over the next decade.

Keith Schneider: Circle of Blue is a news organization that uses science, data, design, and collaboration and convening in order to produce solutions to our most important problems, one of which is water scarcity on the planet.

Our latest global project is Choke Point: China. China is getting dry at the same time as its energy demand is increasing at a momentum never before seen on the planet. We sent four teams of reporters to China; they went to 10 provinces, and we were there. We collected data and we produced a narrative in two parts — we had a good news story and a bad news story.

The good news story is that China has increased its water consumption by only 1 percent a year — 15 percent since 1995, the same years its economy grew eight-fold. And they did this by amassing an enormous amount of technology, public policy, entrepreneurs around water conservation and energy efficiency, and new technology. And they were able to convince their citizenry that as a nation they could begin to solve a significant problem of water scarcity.

The bad news story is that it’s a nation that’s growing in a way that has never been seen before. So everything that it’s doing isn’t going to solve the choke point that we identified for the first time for China — that in their northern and western provinces, which are their energy provinces and also their driest regions in the country — they are facing a very significant energy shortage, not because they don’t have the energy, but because they don’t have the water to develop the energy. And unless they solve that, it’s going to have global implications because anything China does today has implications for every nation on Earth, including the United States.

Video production by Travis Miller. Photos by J. Carl Ganter and Aaron Jaffe. Graphics by students at Ball State University.


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USD1.3 billion for water and sanitation projects in Egypt until 2013

The newly formed Egyptian ministry of utilities, drinking water and sewerage will spend USD 1.35 billion on drinking water and sewerage projects up to June of 2013, a senior official reports.

Mohey el-Sairafi, the spokesman for the new ministry, said that according to the ministry’s budget for the current financial year ending June 2013, USD 900 million has been allocated to the National Authority for Drinking Water, which will take over implementation of water and sewerage projects and complete existing projects.

The allocation for the Holding Company for Water and Waste Water, responsible for financial and administrative supervision over more than 20 companies, is USD 125 million in the new budget, he said.

Egypt has been suffering from fuel, water and power shortages, which have led many angry people around the country to take to the streets in protest. In July, in the governorate of Monufiya a fight broke out between families trying to secure gas cylinders outside of a butane cylinder distribution centre, leaving six dead and more wounded.

Last week, there were protests scattered around the country caused by ongoing power cuts, sometimes hours on end. Tackling the shortages is part of President Mohamed Morsy’s optimistic 100-day program to tackle the major issues facing Egypt, and this is evident by his prime ministerial appointment of the former Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Hesham Qandil.

There are several issues which stand in the way of Morsy achieving his goals. One such issue is the military’s involvement in private enterprise and governance. Seventeen of Egypt’s 27 regional governors are former military men. Morsy must balance the desires of the army, state and the people.

Egypt is a significant oil and natural gas producer, and yet relies heavily on oil imports to meet domestic demands due to their high-volume sales of oil and natural gas. Last year, Egypt imported over 110,000 barrels of oil a day, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Egypt is also the largest recipient of water from the Nile Basin, receiving along with Sudan roughly 90 percent of the Nile’s water.

Related post: Low Nile level threatens summer harvest

As Egypt shares the Nile with 10 other countries, which face serious water shortages, the possibility for future re-arranging of the water distribution is a dead certainty, which would leave Egypt with an even bigger water crisis.


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More than half of the country was under moderate to extreme drought in June, the largest area of the contiguous United States affected by such dryness in nearly 60 years. Nearly 1,300 counties across 29 states have been declared federal disaster areas. Areas under moderate to extreme drought in June of each year are shown in orange below. Last month surpassed July 1936, the depths of the Dust Bowl, as the hottest month on record in the lower 48 states. The Department of Agriculture has declared almost 1,700 counties — about 56 percent of all U.S. counties — as natural-disaster areas caused by a drought that has seared millions of acres of pasture and cropland from Nebraska to Texas. Prices of wheat and corn have risen so much that ranchers have slaughtered cattle to avoid the cost of feeding them.

Source: New York Times

Related article:  Drought Disrupts Everyday Tasks

The plunge in the water supply is mostly the result of a simple geological process. Without rain, aquifers deep beneath the ground have not been getting the water that seeps into the earth to replenish their supplies. In one part of northwest Indiana,  the groundwater level had dropped as much as 40 feet since late spring, or about eight times more than it normally does.


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Update on the US drought – this WILL affect global commodity prices for quite some time

Corn futures surged 58 percent since mid-June, soybeans were up 31 percent and wheat 41 percent. The US drought may push food inflation as high as 4 percent in 2012, the USDA said last week.

The department has declared natural disasters in more than 1,800 counties in 35 states, more than half of the country’s total, mostly because of the dry, hot weather.

The following extract from Jeremy Granthams Quarterly Investor Letter “Welcome to Dystopia” certainly makes a valid point.

“Globally, 2010 looked to me like a 1-in-150-year event with heroic heat in Russia and elsewhere and biblical floods in Pakistan and Australia. It really hurt global grain output. I suggested then that surely the following season had to be at least less bad, and what did we get? Thailand, the largest rice exporter was knee-deep in floods overhalf the country, 80-year floods occurred in the Mississippi, Texas sweltered in way-above record heat, and quite severe droughts gripped many other places. Perhaps in total a 1-in-50-year event globally. So, after all, perhaps Iwas right; it was “less bad” but hardly what I meant. And now, quite suddenly, even while I was thinking about this letter, 1-in-50-year drought and heat have hit our major growing areas. So let’s call this a 1-in-20-year globally, for Brazil, Argentina, Russia, and several other areas are also having unusually bad weather. Any statistician starts to getjumpy when looking at 1-in-150, 1-in-50, and 1-in-20 back to back. Long-term weather records are poor and a lot ofthis is judgmental, but this three-year stretch is, shall we say, very unusual. (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said that the chance that this year’s heat in the Midwest was not affected by a warming climate was over 1 in 1 million. Other sources have used much punier odds, such as 1 in 100,000. I will settle for “very unusual.”) We really have to start factoring into the investment equation increased odds of difficult and volatile growing weather.”


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Water scarcity – A quick analysis in pictures

now, add projected population increase

Still wondering where the best investments will be ?

Now deduct the amount of arable land

Seven billion people now live on earth, only a dozen years after global population hit six billion. But the seven billion milestone is not about sheer numbers: Demographic trends will significantly impact the planet’s resources and peoples’ security.

Growing populations stress dwindling natural resource supplies while high levels of consumption in both developed countries and emerging economies drive up carbon emissions and deplete the planet’s resources. And neglected “youth bulges” could bolster extremism in fragile states like Somalia and destabilize nascent democracies like Egypt.

Here are seven ways seven billion people affect the planet, according to recent research:

Security: Nearly 90 percent of countries with very young and youthful populations had undemocratic governments at the end of the 20th century. Eighty percent of all new civil conflicts between 1970 and 2007 occurred in countries where at least 60 percent of the population is under age 30, says demographer Elizabeth Leahy Madsen. According to research by demographer Richard Cincotta, these countries may achieve democracy, but are less likely to sustain it.

Climate: The impact of demographic trends on climate change is complex. Aging in industrialized nations could reduce carbon emissions in the long term, while urbanization in developing countries could increase emissions, according to research led by Brian O’Neill of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Overall, slowing population growth by 2050 could meet 16-29 percent of the reductions in carbon emissions necessary to avoid climate change.

Water: By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries with water scarcity, and fully two-thirds will be living in conditions of water stress. People are using groundwater faster than it can be naturally replenished, putting us in danger of “peak water,” says MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Peter Gleick. “We cannot talk about water without also understanding the enormously important role of population dynamics and population growth.”

Food: Population growth has forced more than 20 water and/or cropland-scarce countries to import grain, making them vulnerable to food-price volatility in the international marketplace. To meet the demands of the future, we must double world food supplies by 2050, if not sooner, all while reducing our impact on the environment, according to Jon Foley of the University of Minnesota.

Forests: The growing demand for energy has helped devastate tropical forests, as more than two billion people depend on wood for cooking and heating, particularly in developing countries. Projects in Indonesia, Nepal, and Uganda are fighting deforestation by providing alternative energy and incomes along with health and family planning services.

Biodiversity: Population density is connected to the loss of biodiversity in many regions. Data from the Apache Highlands along the U.S.-Mexico border indicate that biodiversity tends to drop off at population densities of more than 10 people per square kilometer, according to research by Richard Gorenflo at Penn State University.

Future Growth: By 2050, the UN says global population could range anywhere from 8 billion to 11 billion – and where it ends up depends in large part on the status of women in developing countries. “Even if fertility rates remain constant at current levels (which is unlikely), developing regions would grow from 5.7 billion in 2010 to 9.7 billion in 2050, but the total population of developed countries would remain essentially unchanged,” writes Madsen.

Population growth is not just the planet’s problem. Women in developing countries with high fertility rates are more likely to suffer from poor health and low literacy. It is a vicious cycle: More children, inadequate healthcare, and less education make it harder for women to help their families adapt to scarce supplies of food, water, and energy.

Sources: Population Action International, UN, World Health Organization.


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