Bahrain’s government has applied for nearly $10 million from the United Nations to help combat the effects of climate change, manage its water resources and help clean up pollutants associated with the oil and gas industry, according to documents.
In a 104-page document filed to the UN’s Green Climate Fund (GCF), Bahrain’s Supreme Council of Environment wrote that the kingdom is “severely threatened by climate change.”
The country’s water sector, the document said, is in particular facing threats caused by rising temperatures and subsequent increases in demand for water, rising sea levels that cause saline intrusion into aquifers and greater intensity of rainfall, which in turn will cause reduced rates of aquifer recharge.
“In combination, these threats are likely to reduce Bahrain’s freshwater resources by at least 50 to 100 million [cubic metres] of water per year in the short term,” the document said.
“Innovative solutions need to be adopted by the Bahraini public, the private sector and government to manage the expected reduction in water resources from climate change in a manner that is not only climate-resilient, but also socially, environmentally and financially sustainable.”
The $9.8 million the government has requested, the report notes, will be used to build technical and institutional capacity to monitor and model climate change impacts, develop new policy and legislative reforms – including water tariff reforms – and help raise public awareness of water management issues through demand management and the re-use of greywater.
Bahrain’s National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA) will play a “central role” in the plan through the adoption of “innovative technologies for the treatment of produced water from the oil industry to augment aquifer recharger.”
According to the government, the various climate-change related projects “will directly benefit 130,500 people, including small scale farmers and low-income groups who are the most vulnerable to the climate change impact of reduced availability of water.”
Bahrain’s proposal is one of 20 being considered by the GCF this week.
The kingdom’s proposal, however, has met with opposition from detractors who say that clean-up of industry-produced waste water is not the intended mission of the GCF.
“The GCF was given a mandate to promote a paradigm shift to low-carbon and climate resilient development pathways [which means] transitioning away from coal, oil and gas,” Lutz Weisher, team leader for international climate policy at environmental NGO Germanwatch is quoted as saying in the Guardian.
“A project that would make a country’s water supply dependent on continued oil and gas production is clearly not in line with the mandate.”
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.