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Water in Kuwait
Photo 1: Kuwaiti fishermen. (Source: I love kuwait / Flickr)

Contributors:

Author:Fanack’s Water editorial team

Peer reviewer: Prof. Waleed Al- Zubariis Professor of Water Resources Management at the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, College of Graduate Studies, Arabian Gulf University (AGU), Bahrain. He serves as the Coordinator of the Water Resources Management Program, College of Graduate Studies, and of UN-Water Learning Center for the Arab Region at the AGU.

Suffering from a shortage of renewable natural freshwater resources, Kuwait depends heavily on seawater desalination to meet its water needs. Brackish groundwater, which has low natural recharge rates, is also exploited for agricultural and greening purposes and for mixing with desalinated water to make it potable. At the same time, a growing population and rising standards of living have contributed to a rapid increase in water demand. The reuse of treated wastewater, as a non-conventional water source, has become crucial.

Geography and climate

The State of Kuwait is located on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf, between 28°30′-30°30′ north latitudes and 46°30′-48°30′ east longitudes, and covers an area of 17,818 km². As shown in Map 1, it shares borders with Iraq to the north and north-west, with Saudi Arabia to the south and west, and with the Persian Gulf to the east. [1]

Kuwait map water in Kuwait
Map 1: Map of Kuwait. @Fanack water

Due to its location in an arid region, Kuwait’s climate is characterized by dry, hot summers (up to 50°C), high evaporation rates and scarce rainfall.[2] [3] In 2017, the recorded annual rainfall was 52.2 mm, in comparison to 35 mm and 187.6 mm in 2010 and 2005, respectively.[4] The total annual evaporation rate ranges from 2,500 mm in the coastal areas to more than 4,500 mm inland.[5] Map 2 shows the rainfall distribution in Kuwait.

rainfall Kuwait water in Kuwait
Map 2: Rainfall distribution in Kuwait. @Fanack water

Population

The population of Kuwait was 4,259,394 as of April 2020.[6] Figures 1 and 2 show the population over the period 1960-2020 and the growth rate over the period 1960-2018. The population is projected to increase to 5.9 million by 2050. Expatriates account for about 70% of Kuwait’s population, including 1.1 million Arab expatriates and 1.4 million Asian expatriates.[7]

Figure 1: Kuwait’s population (1960-2020).[8]

Figure 2: The population growth rate in Kuwait (1960-2018).[9]

Economy

As of 2018, Kuwait’s nominal gross domestic product (GDP) was $140.645 billion.[10] Figure 3 illustrates the GDP between 1970 and 2018. The oil sector is the main contributor to the total GDP. The contribution of crude oil and natural gas production to GDP (at constant prices) was 52.8% in the fourth quarter of 2019, while agriculture’s contribution amounted to 0.4%.[11]

Figure 3: Kuwait’s GDP (1970-2018).[12]

[1] Central Statistical Bureau of Kuwait, 2019. Statistical Review (2018-2019).
[2] Central Statistical Bureau of Kuwait, 2019. Statistical Review (2018-2019).
[3] Alhumoud, J et al., 2010. Groundwater quality analysis of limestone aquifer of Sulaibiya Field, Kuwait. Desalination 254: 58-67.
[4] Available at Statista.
[5] Ibid.
[6] World Population Review.
[7] Ibid.
[8] The World Bank Data.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Central Statistical Bureau of Kuwait, 2019. Estimates of quarterly gross domestic product at current and constant prices.
[12] The World Bank Data.