Reducing consumption of electricity and water in Qatar is one of the nation’s utility provider’s top priorities going forward, Kahramaa said today during the unveiling of its long-term strategy for 2030.
But while leaders in Kuwait and Oman have recently suggested that Gulf countries should tackle waste by reducing government subsidies for water and energy, Qatar does not appear to be going that route yet.
Qataris are given water and electricity for free here, and the government also heavily subsidizes consumption by expats. Perhaps due to this, Qatar continues to be ranked one of the least energy efficient nations in the world.
However, Kahramaa’s president did acknowledge today that the company may broach the issue of subsidized utilities with the government at a future date.
Kahramaa’s 2030 strategy and five-year plan (2014-18) were both launched this morning by President Essa bin Hilal Al-Kuwari at the Qatar National Convention Center. The meeting was opened by Minister of Energy and Industry Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada.
The report identified 12 international trends in water and electricity that could affect Kahramaa’s business in the run-up to 2030. These include maintenance of an uninterrupted and sustainable supply of electricity and water as demand grows, reduction in energy subsidies internationally, investment in clean and efficient energy and water technologies and the global adoption of smart technologies.
Because prices for electricity and water are set so low, the strategy states in its current structure, the company would not be able to sustain itself without help from the government:
“Kahramaa’s financial viability remains heavily reliant on government subsidies, due to a number of structural and social challenges that limit Kahramaa to operate on commercial business.
According to the strategy, these challenges to include:
- Kahramaa’s “negligible” ability to affect tariffs, as prices are set solely by the government;
- Consumer consumption patterns; and
- A “disconnect” between current tariff rates and Kahramaa’s cost base.
As Qatar’s population expands, Kahramaa also faces the challenge of ensuring there is enough water and energy for everyone.
Since it cannot raise prices to discourage consumption, the company must focus on building capacity and holding awareness drives to motivate people to curb wasteful behavior.
Speaking to Doha News at the launch, Al-Kuwari said:
“The issue of subsidies is decided by the government. We could raise the issue with them in the future. Now we are studying the country’s needs and are doing an annual survey to make sure we have capacity to meet the needs, as the population rises.”
During his address, Minister Al-Sada called for a reduction in water and electricity usage, saying:
“Kahramaa should be working not only to provide high-quality, sustainable and cost-effective power and water services, but also to conserve energy and water as these are scarce and invaluable natural resources,” he said.
Under its awareness campaign Tarsheed, the state utilities company has targets to reduce the energy consumption per capita from 43 KWh/day currently to 39KWh/day by 2018. It also aims to cut the amount of water used from 595 liters/day to 459 liters/day over the next four years.
This could be achieved through the introduction of smart water meters in homes to raise awareness of water usage and smart water grids to quickly identify and manage pipe leaks, the strategy said.
Kahramaa has also previously announced plans to improve its emergency water supply from a couple days to a capacity of a week. Construction is underway for a $260 million desalination plant, due to be complete by June next year, and there are plans to build five “mega” reservoirs – apparently the world’s largest water tanks – outside Doha, slated to be complete by 2016.
That scheme will cost some $2.7 billion and involve constructing the world’s largest water tanks, with the goal of building up a seven-day water supply to serve its burgeoning population.
As long as there is no financial incentive to change, the vast majority will continue to waste this precious resource.
Since moving to qatar ive been overwhelmed at the waste and disregard for the environment considering that this is an islamic country. As happens all too often in qatar the symptom will be treated but not the cause. Spending over 2 billion dollars rather than try to a dress the root cause of the problem makes little sense.
It has nothing to do with Islam, (and btw a country cannot be Islamic, it is like saying the ocean is Islamic) it is as you stated purely an incentive driven problem. As long as there is no disincentive to reduce consumption either through higher prices or punishment for waste then their awareness campaigns will have minimum impact.
He’s not blaming Islam. He’s saying in spite of it being an Islamic country (which it is) the resources are wasted. The reference to Islam is, I believe, due to the stance that Islam has against wastefulness.
Can I country pray 5 times a day? Does it complete the hajj? Don’t be ridicolous. Qatar is a piece of land with a predomiatly muslim population. (In fact I doubt even that is true with the influx of people in the last 10 years)
Now you’re being combative. Don’t think he meant it literally.
Being a tad pedantic there. In a modern geopolitical sense, when using the term Islamic country, it refers collectively to Muslim-majority local population. Good on ya Pete for spelling out what I didn’t think needed to be spelled out.
I would suggest, MIMH, that rather than punishment, introduce rewards and incentives. Always by far more effective in achieving change
How do you reward and offer incentives to people who already have most everything.
Rewards do not have to be monetary, they can be recognition, community rewards, rewards for children who participate etc. Many ways of rewarding households who manage waste, reduce consumption.
My point is unless you make people pay they will not heed any advice here. Monetarily the ones who can make a difference, Qatari and expat alike, are not interested. Now if they give me $1000…But personally I don’t drive a big massive machine and I’m very well “trained” by my parents at an early age to be conservative and not waste water, heat, ac, gas, etc. Not saying I’m the perfect citizen just part of my culture.
That’s why I think getting the children involved early is the key. The effect would be negligible now, as they really have little influence at an early age, but the education would greatly effect the future. But the parents have to buy in as well as children see and do as their parent set the example.
Give the locals bills, partially subsidised, if necessary, then the waste might be reduced?
LOL… This is implied in the second sentence “Qataris are given water and electricity for free here”.
Did you know that many non-Qataris never get a bill, their housing provided by their employer includes electricity, water, and even cleaning and laundry?
Did you know that most of the consumption in Qatar is industrial?
Those are two elephants in the room, and most expats love to point their fingers at the locals. 🙂
Yeah it makes me laugh, some expats point the finger at the locals like they are all to blame while driving their huge 4x4s they could never afford back home…
Most expats who do drive 4x4s here do it for safety sake.
You are indeed very correct! We have had this debate before regarding water usage. The construction industry uses vast amounts of water alone, all of it potable standard because that’s the standard of water that needs to be used in concrete to allow it to be durable for the life of structures.
Due to declining groundwater reserves and increasing groundwater salinity, this country, I think, is farming less than it did a decade ago. I’m not sure what water the use for irrigation now, but I suspect it may be potable, because TSE may not be used on products for human consumption. Parks where people can sit on grass are watered with potable water due to the human contact.
Apparently this country / city produces a surplus of TSE (treated sewage effluent) as they cannot use it for much of the irrigation.
If someone knows any different, happy to be educated on this!
The one and only way to decrease usage is for people to have to pay. People in the West conserve due to high electric, natural gas, heating oil and automotive gas prices. With gas here cheaper than water what is the incentive? While I don’t pay utilities here I’m constantly turning off lights, quick showers, and reducing the AC when possible for conservation. Like NOT littering It’s just something ingrained in us from an early age. From my experiences here I don’t see Qataris all of the sudden doing this to be good global citizens.
Taking into consideration the lack of potable water, shade, arable land, pretty much anything else here who was the first guy who was wondering around in the desert and said “this is the place I want to call home”?
Instead of blaming each other and claiming that it is Qatari-bashing, why not consider the issue at stake. Clean water is a precious resource and is wasted at an unbelievable rate in Qatar- by everyone.
Expats- it’s not constructive to boast about how careful westerners are back home- we have had an awful lot longer to get to grips with water conservation, and that is in some countries seemingly awash with the stuff. Same for energy consumption, we use it here much more readily than at home, and I for one got over my horror of petrol consumption and a 4X4 pretty quick because it only costs about QAR65 to fill up, compared with about QAR700 in the UK, and I feel a whole lot safer in it than in my energy efficient saloon car. We leave doors open around the house, with the AC cooling the place for the cats. We water the garden during the day instead of nighttime because the gardener comes during the day..
Qataris- come on, you know you waste water, just look at the fleet parked outside your house being washed with a hosepipe- Every single morning. Look at the lights blazing around your gardens and walls through the night.
We are all guilty of a reckless consumption and should be using forum like this to examine how best to change. Yes tariffs work, but to be honest will not impact on the biggest users.
I would suggest, as always , that education is the best way, from pre-school to Company Director. Engage with the community to make change, so that peer pressure perhaps via Majilis, is brought to bear. Qatari’s have an amazing network and community life. Just needs interested leaders who can see beyond the blame culture.
Wouldn’t you think the most obvious and logical Majilis discussion would be road safety? If you can’t get people to drive like human beings and stop killing their own kind and foreigners alike how can you get them to do something like not wash their war machines twice a day? Turn off a light? etc etc?