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Sun 23 Mar 2008 12:57 PM

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Gov't called on to solve water shortage

Gulf residents believe authorities in region need to act to stop problem escalating, poll reveals.

Gulf residents are calling on governments to solve the region's looming water shortage crisis, the results of the latest spot poll have revealed.

The GCC faces a serious water supply and demand imbalance caused by a lack of infrastructure investment earlier in the decade, with experts estimating investment of more than $50 billion is required over the next decade to rectify the situation.

Asked how the looming shortage should be dealt with, 96.3% of respondents said governments needed to act to stop the problem escalating.

More than half of those polled (50.6%) said governments needed to address the issue without placing any additional cost on the consumer.

Respondents said governments "have plenty of petrodollars to do this without additional fees from their citizens”.

The remaining 45.7% also said it was the government’s responsibility to provide potable water, but added that people had to be responsible with their water consumption.

“Governments need to act, but excessive usage should be punished by additional fees. People won’t learn unless they are hit where it hurts - their wallet,” they said.

The remaining 3.7% of respondents said that the Gulf’s geographical disadvantage, largely being a desert with limited natural water supplies, was to blame for the supply crunch, and called on the international community to assist in providing water and related infrastructure.

Not one of those surveyed thought the water shortage was up to the private sector to resolve.

According to a report by the Middle East Economic Digest (Meed), an additional 5,000 million gallons per day of potable water will be required to meet projected demand by 2015.

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