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Water Infrastructure in Qatar

Doha cityscape, Qatar, Water Infrastructure in Qatar
Photo 1: Doha cityscape, Qatar. (Source: GooseB, Pixabay)

The public sector Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation( Kahramaa ), and Public Works Authority (Ashghal) are the main responsible entities for managing, sustaining, and implementing water infrastructure in Qatar.

Desalination plants

Desalination is the main source of domestic water supply in Qatar, meeting about 50% of the total water demand. The first seawater desalination plant was established in 1953, based on the submerged tube process, with a capacity of 682 m3/d. The second plant was set up in 1962 at Ras Abu Aboud, based on the commercially successful multi-stage flash distillation process, with a capacity of 0.25 MCM/d.[1] Since then, Qatar has invested in building several desalination plants to meet its water needs. Commissioning of all the desalination plants, along with the capacity and technology used, are summarized in Table 1. Kahramaa is responsible for the distribution of the desalinated water to domestic users.

Table 1: Desalination plants and their capacity. [2] [3] [4]

Desalination plantTechnology Capacity (m3/d)Commissioning year
Ras Abu Fontas AMSF*250,0001994
Ras Abu Fontas BMSF150,0001977-1998
Ras Abu Fontas A1MSF204,5452010
Ras Abu Fontas B2MSF131,8182008
Ras Abu Fontas A3RO**163,6592016
Ras Laffan A (RLPCMSF181,8182003-2004
Ras Laffan B (Q Power)MSF272,7272006-2008
Ras Laffan C (Ras Girtas/Ras Qertas)MED***286,3642010-2011
DukhanMED9,0921997
Abu SamraRO9091982
Qaeedat al-ShamalMSF9091993
Umm al-HoulMSF345,5022016-2017
RO272,7652016-2017

Wastewater network and treatment plants

The generated wastewater is collected either by the sewage system or by tankers. The wastewater collected by the sewage system is treated in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), whereas wastewater collected by tankers is discharged in an open lagoon untreated.[5] [6] The sewage network serves only 65% of the areas covered by drinking water networks.[7]

There were 24 WWTPs in operation across Qatar in 2017, with a total capacity of 848 m3/d.[8] As shown in Table 2, the volume of treated wastewater was 194 MCM in 2015 (around 98.2% of the total), and increased to 228.7 MCM in 2017.[9] [10]The design capacity of urban wastewater treatment increased from 54,000 m3/d in 2004 to 809,340 m3/d in 2017, at an annual growth rate of 28%.[11] Table 3 lists the WWTPs and their capacities. Around 70% of wastewater is subjected to the removal of nitrogen and phosphorous, and around 30% is disinfected.

Table 2: Produced wastewater volume and wastewater reuse quantities (in m3/yr) (2011-2014).[12]

Description (in m3/yr)2011201220132014201520162017
Amount of collected wastewater123,887142,339158,792173,933197,492209,518231,473
Amount of treated wastewater108,759129,212151,883168,949193,854204,392228,668
Percentage of treated wastewater to total wastewater87.8%90.8%95.6%97.1%98.2%97.6%98.8%
Amount of treated wastewater used for agriculture irrigation41,97958,70755,23364,92066,28961,69969,508
Amount of treated wastewater used for green space irrigation21,65719,91524,67029,09631,08842,48061,029
Amount of treated water used for injecting groundwater26,21230,85435,59943,46557,29160,36463,859
Amount of treated water discharged into lakes18,76013,47435,39131,10938,84539,16833,817
Amount of treated water discharged into the sea268293234358350681455

Table 3: Wastewater treatment plants.[13]

NameYear of operationCapacity in the year of operation (1,000 m3/d)Amount of wastewater received (1,000 m3/d)
Al-Dhakhira20103.21,426
Al-Khor20119.724,430
Barwa al-Baraha2012124,702
Barwa City2012151,289
Doha North 201324433,526
Doha South200520469,228
Doha West (old plant)20045421,362
Doha West (new plant)-17566,488
Industrial Area20083012,508
Lusail20136010,497

Ashghal is responsible for the design, construction, delivery and maintenance of all major infrastructural projects across Qatar, including storm and rainwater, wastewater and sewage drainage and treatment.

The NDS-2 encourages the expansion of wastewater reuse and the development of water management to enhance efficient water use in industrial zones. This is planned to be achieved by 2022 through the following targets:[14]

  • provide infrastructure to use 70% of the treated wastewater produced in different projects;
  • establish integrated water management and accompanying contaminants in industrial zones;
  • reduce the loss of drinking water to 8%.

Doha North Sewage Treatment Works (DNSTW)

The DNSTW is a significant sewage treatment project carried out by Ashghal. The project site is located about 25 km north of Doha. Construction of the project commenced in February 2008. The project was completed in two phases and became operational in December 2015. It was designed to serve 900,000 citizens by 2020, treating 245,000 m³ of wastewater per day. The project primarily serves the city of Doha and the suburbs of Umm Salal, Gharafa, Semiesma and Lusail.[15]

Treated wastewater is utilized for irrigation and several recreational purposes, while the sludge from the treatment plant is used as soil conditioner in agricultural fields and as a source of green energy.

The influent is treated in three stages. The first stage involves fine screening. The secondary stage involves biological treatment using an anaerobic-anoxic-aerobic method for the removal of organic material and nitrogen from the wastewater. The treatment process in this stage also includes clarification/sedimentation through the use of settling tanks. The third or tertiary stage comprises granular media filtration using dual media filters, ultrafiltration using an advanced membrane and disinfection using ultraviolet technologies.[16]

Mega Reservoirs Project

Owing to Qatar’s increasing water demand and lack of freshwater resources, Kahramaa began implementing the Mega Reservoirs Project in 2014.[17] The objective of the project is to secure Qatar’s water supply by providing seven days of potable water storage in the existing reservoirs, new mega reservoirs and the existing and future secondary reservoirs, with a quality that complies with Kahramaa and World Health Organization standards. Qatar currently only has around a 48-hour storage supply of water in case of emergencies.[18]

Seven days of storage will be provided for the forecasted water demand in 2026, with five mega reservoir sites. The second phase will provide seven days of water storage for the expected demand in 2036 by adding additional reservoirs within the five mega reservoir sites. The project requires the construction of five potable water mega reservoir sites and an interconnecting network of large diameter water pipelines. Each reservoir site will ultimately comprise up to nine reservoirs, each of which will be the largest of its type in the world. Mega reservoirs and pumping stations will be constructed at five strategic locations along the Qatar National Utility Corridor. The first phase of the project, which is currently underway, will deliver storage capacity of about 10.1 MCM of water in 24 huge concrete reservoirs and around 480 km of buried ductile iron pipelines with a diameter up to 1.6 metres.

The second phase of the project, which will be implemented after 2020, is planned to include the construction of additional pipelines and 16 new reservoirs within the five mega sites to achieve an ultimate total storage capacity of about 16.7 MCM of water.

[1] Rahman H and Syed Javaid Z, 2018. Desalination in Qatar: Present status and future prospects. Civil Eng Res J., 6(5).
[2] Baalousha H M, 2016. The potential of using beach wells for reverse osmosis desalination in Qatar. Model Earth Syst Environ 2(2).
[3] Planning and Statistics Authority, 2017. Water Statistics in the State of Qatar 2017.
[4] Rahman H and Syed Javaid Z, 2018. Desalination in Qatar: Present status and future prospects. Civil Eng Res J., 6(5).
[5] Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, 2017. Water Statistics in the State of Qatar 2015.
[6] Public Works Authority Qatar (Ashghal), 2013. Qatar Integrated Drainage Master Plan, Final Master Plan Report. Document No: QAT/D110001/13/019/01; Volume 1.
[7] Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, 2018. Qatar Second National Development Strategy: 2018-2020.
[8] Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, 2017. Water Statistics in the State of Qatar 2015.
[9] MDPS, 2015. Annual Statistical Abstract, Chapter XI, Environment Statistics.
[10] Planning and Statistics Authority, 2018. Water Statistics in the State of Qatar.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Planning and Statistics Authority, 2018. Water Statistics in the State of Qatar 2017.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, 2018. Qatar Second National Development Strategy: 2018-2020.
[15] Water Technology, n.d. Doha North Sewage Treatment Works (DNSTW), Qatar.
[16] Ibid.
[17] Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation, n.d. Water Security Mega Reservoirs Project.
[18] Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2019. Uniting Water Energy Food NEXUS in Qatar.