Water of the Middle East and North Africa

Water Management in Qatar

Souq Waqif, Qatar, Water Management in Qatar
Photo 1: Souq Waqif, Qatar. (Source: Ziad Hunesh, Flickr)

Water laws and regulations/legal framework

The first water-related law introduced in Qatar was Decree No.7, which was adopted in 1963, on defining water tariffs. Since then, Qatar has introduced and adapted many laws and decrees, with the aim of organizing, managing and protecting its water resources. An overview of the main water laws, regulations and decrees is presented in Table 1.

Table 1: Qatar’s main water laws and decrees.[1]

Law/decreeYear of issueTopic
Law No. 7/19631963Determination and organization of the collection of electricity and water tariffs
Council of Ministers’ Resolution No.1/19711971Regulation of the drilling of artesian wells
Law No. 11/19791979Protection of the electrical and water public installations
Law No. 1 (Ameri Decree)1988Regulation of the drilling and use of groundwater wells
Decree Law No. 29/19951995Amending Law No. 1 of 1988
Decree Law No. 28/ 19951995Organizing the Ministry of Electricity and Water and assigning its competencies
Law No. 3/19991999Amending Law No. 7 of 1963
Law No. 29/20082008Includes 14 articles on the works of electricity and water supply
Decree No. 89/19901990Establishment of the Qatar Electricity and Water Company
Law No. 10/ 20002000Establishment of the Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa)
Decree Law No. 11/20002000Establishment of the Supreme Council for the Environment and Natural Reserves
Law No. 1/20042004Establishment of the Public Works Authority
Council of Ministers’ Resolution No.7/20042004Establishment of the Permanent Water Resources Committee
Emiri Resolution No. 19/20112011Establishment of the Standing Committee of Water Resources, and affiliated to the Council of Ministers
Emiri Resolution No. 35/20142014Organizing Kahramaa to follow the minister of energy and industry

Major water management actors

Permanent Water Resources Committee (PWRC)

The PWRC was established in 2004,[2] and its organizational structures and tasks were amended in 2019 by Emiri Resolution No. 40/2019. According to the amendment, the PWRC was affiliated to the Council of Ministers. The committee is formed as follows: minister of state for energy affairs (chairman), minister of municipal and environmental affairs (vice-president), head of the Planning and Statistics Authority as a member, chairman of the Public Works Authority as a member, chairman of Kahramaa as a member and secretary, two representatives of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment as members, and a representative of the technical committee for the promotion and participation of the private sector in economic development projects, chosen by the committee’s chairman, as a member.[3] The tasks appointed to the PWRC are:

  • Suggesting policies and strategies related to water resources, in line with the comprehensive development plans in the country and taking into account the sustainability and preservation of the environment.
  • Approving the plans, programmes and projects related to the management and development of water resources, which are submitted by the authorities concerned with the management of these resources.
  • Setting the priorities of water resources development projects and proposing implementation programmes for them.
  • Coordinating the activities of the bodies related to the implementation of the water resources plan, to ensure that there is no overlap in terms of reference.
  • Following up the execution of programmes, projects and studies related to water resources carried out or supervised by the competent authorities and evaluating these programmes periodically.
  • Proposing appropriate solutions to address wastefulness in the different water uses.
  • Proposing legislation amendments related to the protection, management and development of water resources.

Ministry of Municipality and Environment

The Ministry of Municipality and Environment[4] was established to protect the environment and develop Qatar’s natural resources, including water. Its main responsibilities include achieving a balance between the protection of the environment and the requirements of development, preparing urban plans at the state level and supervising their implementation in coordination with the concerned authorities, preparing cadastral maps, managing state properties and reviewing the recommendations of the Central Municipal Council and taking relevant decisions concerning the council’s recommendations.

Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA)

The PSA[5] is responsible for the development of the state’s overall vision in cooperation with the concerned authorities; preparation of national development strategies and follow-up of their implementation; supporting the planning process in government agencies; linking development priorities to the state budget; and monitoring the progress of implementation of plans. It is also mandated to establish an integrated statistical system; conduct, organize and supervise formal statistical operations; implement various censuses and surveys; and disseminate statistical data and products. The PSA’s subdomain on water includes statistics on the quality and quantity of freshwater resources as well as on desalinated water, treated sewage effluent and other water resources. It also covers statistics on wastewater treatment and discharge.

Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa)

Kahramaa was established in July 2000 by Law No. 10 and is mainly responsible for regulating and maintaining the supply and distribution of electricity and water to end users.[6] Supervised by the Ministry of Energy and Industry, Kahramaa’s water-related tasks include acquiring, establishing, operating and maintaining facilities for the production, delivery and distribution of water; producing, delivering, distributing and selling water; conducting works for water supply; setting necessary plans and programmes; developing rules for regulating water connections to buildings and facilities, monitoring the implementation thereof and granting the necessary licenses; and proposing the standards and specifications of water materials and equipment.[7]

Public Works Authority (Ashghal)

Ashghal was established in 2004 and is responsible for the planning, design, procurement, construction, delivery and asset management of all infrastructure projects and public buildings in Qatar. Ashghal’s key water-related responsibilities include governing the design, construction and management of major projects, such as the collection and treatment of wastewater and the distribution of the treated wastewater to end users.[8]

Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC)

The QEWC is a public shareholding company, established in 1990 in accordance with the provisions of the Qatari Commercial Companies Law. Aiming to own, manage and sell the products of electricity generation and water desalination plants, QEWC is the main supplier of electricity and desalinated water in Qatar, with a market share of 62% for electricity and 79% for water.[9]

[1] Al-Meezan, n.d. Qatar legal portal.
[2] General Secretariat for Development Planning, 2009. Advancing Sustainable Development – Qatar’s Second Human Development Report.
[3] Al-Meezan, n.d. Qatar legal portal.
[4] Ministry of Municipality and Environment, n.d. About the ministry.
[5] Planning and Statistics Authority, 2020. Qatar census 2020.
[6] Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation, n.d. History.
[7] FAO, n.d. FAOLEX Database – Amiri Decree No. 35 of 2014 Organizing the Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation.
[8] Public Works Authority, n.d. About us.
[9] Qatar Electricity and Water Company, n.d. About QEWC.