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Kuwaiti Groundwater Management and Monitoring Case Study

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Updated: Dec 2nd, 2020

Groundwater Management over the Years

Brackish groundwater is one of the major sources of usable water in Kuwait. This source has been exploited for various uses from agriculture and construction to the non-portable household. The groundwater production reached its peak in 2006 and has been declining over the years due to overexploitation (Al-Murad, Uddin, Rashid, Al-Qallaf, & Bushehri, 2017). To sustain the usage of groundwater, the Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) has implemented several strategies aimed at preserving this strategic resource. For instance, in the freshwater fields located in Ruadhatain, the government reduced the production rate from 2 MIGDP (9090m3/d) to 1 MIGDP (4545m3/d) from 1963 to 1967 (Akber, 2018). By the end of 1989, the government further reduced the withdrawal of groundwater to 24 MIG (109,105m3), which is equivalent to 300 m3/d. At present, the rate of water production is at 0.5 MIGDP (2275m3/d) (Akber, 2018). The reduced production of groundwater over the years is part of the government’s policy on conservation through diversification to other sources. As a result, this strategy has reduced over-dependence on groundwater through the introduction of other sources such as recycled water.

Kuwait’s government has also been active in policy legislation to conserve groundwater resources. For instance, since 2011 there has been a consistent reduction in subsidy through a policy aimed at increasing the previously low fixed government prices to reduce the average per capita water consumption (ESRI, 2015). As a result, the maximum consumption per household per day has reduced from 500l/d in 2011 to 430l/d in 2015 (KISR, 2018). Moreover, GIS technology has been integrated to improve Kuwait’s groundwater management. The enterprise GIS is currently used to monitor the upper and lower aquifers.

Over the years, the government and private companies have initiated hundreds of groundwater projects following recommendations from groundwater research studies (Al-Zubari, 2016). Through the blending of groundwater with other sources, the government has effectively introduced brackish water distribution through separate pipes to freshwater distribution networks. The network of fresh and brackish water pipes is monitored by the GIS. This strategy has reduced wastage of underground freshwater (Akber, 2018). The government of Kuwait has also been active in designing groundwater utilization schemes targeting the Northern oilfield. For instance, the Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research (KISR) has successfully designed modern groundwater distribution and consumption schedules to optimize utilization while minimizing wastage (KISR, 2018).

Controlling Groundwater Extraction and Enforcing Water Tariffs

The groundwater extraction is controlled by the government through the MEW. Started in 1950 by the Gas and Water division, the extraction control was shifted in 1970 to the Groundwater Administration (ESRI, 2015). Through a partnership with private entities, the government has been active in managing the daily, monthly, and annual extraction. For instance, the government has been using the rotational groundwater extraction for the upper and lower aquifers. At the same time, the extraction of groundwater is separated into fresh, saline, and brackish for ease of distribution and usage (Akber, 2018). The government has set annual fees and regulations for private groundwater miners to ensure that this source is not over depleted.

The water tariffs are enforced through selected water codes for each region connected to fresh and brackish groundwater. The codes monitor water pressure, consumption per day, and set maximum limits (IAEA, 2017). For instance, GIS enterprise technology is currently used to track usage across the entire Kuwait groundwater consumption network (KISR, 2018).

References

Akber, A. M. (2018). Sustainable water management in Kuwait: Current situation and possible correctional measures. International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning, 13(3), 425-435.

Al-Murad, M., Uddin, S., Rashid, T., Al-Qallaf, H., & Bushehri, A. (2017). Waterlogging in arid agriculture areas due to improper groundwater management- An example from Kuwait. Sustainability, 9(11), 2131-2132.

Al-Zubari, W. K. (2016). Groundwater resources management in the GCC countries: Evaluation, challenges & suggested framework. Web.

ESRI. (2015). GIS improve groundwater management in Kuwait. Web.

IAEA. (2017). Water and the environment success stories. Web.

KISR. (2018). Web.

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