Water of the Middle East and North Africa

What Does the Future Hold for Water in Qatar?

The Pearl-Qatar, Doha, Water in Qatar
Photo 1: The Pearl-Qatar, Doha, Qatar. (Source: Konevi, Pixabay)

Outline of long-term strategy

Over the years, the Qatari government has launched several strategies promoting sustainable and efficient use of water, aimed at achieving water security.

Qatar National Vision (QNV) 2030

Launched in 2008 by the General Secretariat for Development Planning, the QNV serves as a roadmap for Qatar’s future by balancing economic growth with human and natural resources. The vision aims at transforming Qatar into an advanced country by 2030, capable of sustaining its own development and providing for a high standard of living for all of its people for generations to come. The QNV has four pillars: human development, social development, economic development and environmental development.[1]

Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS)

First published in 2012, the QNRS provides the basis for the national research programme to develop the capabilities of researchers and institutions. The QNRS 2014 builds on previous achievements with a focus on Qatar’s current challenges. It provides a structured framework for the Qatar Foundation’s research and development objectives and helps to drive the programme plans and measures of performance by guiding decision makers in identifying investment opportunities in research and development programmes that address critical national priorities and progress towards the QNV 2030.[2]

National Development Strategy

The first National Development Strategy (NDS-1), which covered the period 2011-2016, was developed to provide guidance on the goals and objectives of the QNV 2030 and encourage economic, social, cultural and environmental development, thus leading to a more prosperous Qatar and setting the pace for future national strategies to drive further progress. The NDS-2 for the period 2018-2022 builds on the achievements of and lessons learned from the NDS-1 and continues to support implementation of the QNV 2030, in addition to improving economic performance and future aspects. The strategy pledges to rationalize water consumption and encourage the use of non-conventional water resources, among other key aspects.[3]

Tarsheed strategies and projects

The National Campaign for Conservation and Efficient Use of Water and Electricity, known as Tarsheed, encompasses numerous strategies and projects aimed at meeting the targets of the national campaign, which focuses on efficiency in consumption (see also the ‘Water Challenges’ section).

Conclusion and summary of positive and negative developments

Owing to the fact that recent development and population growth have put significant pressure on its water resources, Qatar has invested in developing national strategies, improving water infrastructure, enhancing sustainable water use and launching water awareness and conservation campaigns. Despite this, the country faces challenges such as high domestic consumption rates. Based on water consumption trends in 2011, water consumption was projected to increase 5.4% annually for Qataris and 7% annually for expats to 2020.[4] [5] Several improvements to overcome these water-related challenges can be considered, including:

  • Increasing the production and reuse of wastewater. This requires expanding the coverage of the sewage collection networks and attracting private sector investment.
  • Improving agricultural water management by installing modern irrigation systems, using appropriate crops patterns, improving irrigation efficiency, controlling well abstractions and increasingly using treated wastewater in agriculture.
  • Developing incentives to reduce domestic water use. Water use is higher among Qataris than expats, indicating a need to change behaviours around and attitudes towards water conservation.
  • Shifting to renewable energy-based desalination to reduce the emissions from and the energy costs of desalination plants.
  • Utilizing natural gas and oil production to secure improved urban drinking water supply and sanitation services.

Finally, Qatar needs to develop an integrated water resources management strategy and implement a water demand management programme to reduce per capita water demand, conduct additional public awareness campaigns, upgrade the current water tariff system and continue to reduce leakages and losses in the water supply system.

[1] Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, 2017. Qatar National Vision 2030.
[2] Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, 2018. Qatar Second National Development Strategy: 2018-2020.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ismail H, 2015. Food and Water Security in Qatar: Part 2 – Water Resources. Global Food and Water Crises Research Programme.
[5] Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, 2018. Qatar Second National Development Strategy: 2018-2020.