By Amy Glass
Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq must address massive water wastage problems.
The Middle East is facing the threat of a ‘water war’ unless Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq address their huge water wastage problems, an industry expert warned on Tuesday.
Robert Smith, head of utilities at specialist water group Metito, said half the water produced does not reach the region’s public, resulting in a massive waste of a limited resource.
Speaking at a water efficiency forum in Dubai, Smith warned that water leakages in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon run at over 50%.
“Leakages from water systems in the region are higher than in Europe, even though water is a scarce commodity in the region. Unless both governments and the private sector address this, the Middle East could witness water wars.”
Meanwhile, the UAE’s water loss percentage is only 11% which is below the acceptable limit of 15%, meaning the Gulf nation is one of the lowest ranking countries in terms of regional water loss.
Smith urged the Middle East government's to accelerate the installation of efficient water appliances, since the current lack of infrastructure is increasing pressure on the region’s demand for fresh water.
The industry warning comes after Dubai's state-owned utility Dewa said it would introduce a new tariff system from March which would raise prices for those who consume the most.
The new "sliding scale" tariff system would encourage customers who fall into the higher categories of consumption to cut back on use, Dewa said in a statement on Sunday.
The new tariff does not apply to UAE nationals.
According to Dewa, the city's average individual consumption of 20,000 kilowatt hours a year and 130 gallons of water a day is higher than the US, UK and Singapore.
Last year UAE environment and water minister Mohammad Saeed Al claimed water shortage would be the biggest economic, social and environmental challenge faced by Arab countries.
Al Kindi said Arab cities would face a water shortage of 100 to 133 billion cubic metres a year by 2030.