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Mounir Belloumi, Ph.D Associate Professor of Economics University of Sousse Tunisia Desalination as an option to resolve problems of water scarcity in.

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Presentation on theme: "Mounir Belloumi, Ph.D Associate Professor of Economics University of Sousse Tunisia Desalination as an option to resolve problems of water scarcity in."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mounir Belloumi, Ph.D Associate Professor of Economics University of Sousse Tunisia Desalination as an option to resolve problems of water scarcity in MENA Region Second French Serbian Summer School Vrnjačka Banja, 7 th to 13th October 2007

2 Outline Water Resources: Status and Future Trends Investing in Desalination Technologies Some MENA countries experiences in Desalination Renewable Energy Solar energyConclusions

3 Low water stress Medium water stressSevere water stress The majority of the mega cities were found along the coasts. These regions are experiencing mild to severe water stress (particularly in North Africa, Middle East, Asia, Western United States).

4 Water Resources Status MENA region is considered to be the most water scarce region in the world, with the highest levels of water deficit. Per capita renewable water resources in the region, which in 1950 were 4,000 m3 per year, are currently 1,100 m3 per year (the MENA region falls far below the global average of 8000 m3 per year). In 14 countries in the region, per capita water resources are less than 500 m3 per year. Projections indicate that per capita water availability will fall by half by 2050

5 Water balance Source: World Bank, 2007

6 Water balance MENA region is rapidly approaching full utilization of its available water resources: about 80% of the total water resources The forecast of water requirements depends on future economic and demographic trends Water to agriculture remains the most important (85%) followed by industry and tourism sectors (10-15%) The domestic (urban and rural) water requirements will increase with the population growth. Industrial and tourism water requirements may be multiplied by a factor equal to 2 or 3.

7 Excessive withdrawal from surface waters and from underground aquifers high variability and low rainfall over space and time Inefficient use of freshwater: Poor irrigation practices, leakage in water delivery systems, and excessive consumption Pollution of fresh water resources Some 60 percent of the region’s water flows across international borders, further complicating the resource management challenge. Water scarcity in MENA : Reasons

8 The scarcity of freshwater resources is challenging food independency and social stability of a growing population in MENA. Further disturbance and degradation of 'natural' systems by using low quality irrigation water Contamination of groundwater Reduction of crops yields, limitation of cultivation Long-term damage to soils and aquifers that may not be easily recoverable Possible water conflicts Water scarcity in MENA – Consequences

9 MENA region leads the world in desalination technology investments. MENA countries are increasingly producing water for municipal and industrial use by removing salt from sea or brackish water. The region has 60 percent of the world’s capacity and has been using this technology to supply more than half of all municipal water needs since 1990, producing 2,377 million m3/year (World Bank, 2005). Desalination

10 Saudi Arabia is home to 30 percent of the world’s desalination capacity; production of desalinated water in Saudi Arabia was 1,070 million m3/year in 2004 (Ministry of Water and Electricity, Saudi Arabia 2004). Saudi Arabia is now the world's largest producer of desalinated water with desalination meeting 70% of the country's present drinking water requirement Additional investment in this technology is planned in the countries of the Gulf and elsewhere. Several countries outside the Gulf have also invested in this technology and contribute to the technical innovations

11 Desalination MENA region has helped bring down the cost of desalinating water. The advances have driven prices down from an average of US$1/m3 in 1999 to between US$0.5/m3 and US$0.8/m3 in 2004 (World Bank 2004). Large plants can desalinate seawater for as little as US$0.44/m3, although these costs may reflect distortions such as subsidized energy prices, soft loans, and free land (Bushnak 2003).

12 Desalination The technology is very sensitive to energy prices While desalination is still more expensive than most conventional sources when they are readily available, the technology often costs less than exploiting conventional sources when major investments such as interbasin transfers and large dams are required (World Bank, 2004). The technology has long been an option for the high- income countries of MENA region (Saudia Arabia, Kuwait, Israel), but recent advances mean that it is becoming increasingly viable for poorer countries.

13 Desalination Using domestic wastewater treated to at least secondary level to irrigate crops can help reduce pressure on freshwater supplies. With an average cost of US$0.50/m3, this is an expensive source of irrigation water, but can be cheaper than developing new supplies (World Bank 2000). On average, across the MENA region, 2 percent of water use comes from treated wastewater.

14 Desalination Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Syria, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates reuse treated domestic wastewater to some extent. The Gulf countries use about 40 percent of the wastewater that is treated to irrigate nonedible crops, for fodder, and for landscaping. In Tunisia, around 30 percent of treated wastewater is reused in agriculture and other uses. Public resistance to using treated wastewater is strong but diminishing.

15 Desalination The public is beginning to accept the need for reuse because of the scarcity, especially when used for nonedible crops, gardens, and the like rather than food crops (Faruqui, Biswas, and Bino 2001). These new technologies that provide "produced" water can be a useful element of any water strategy.

16 Desalination Capacity in Non-Gulf MENA Countries Algeria began investing in desalination plants during the 1960s, primarily to support the oil and steel industry, and more recently to augment water supply in coastal cities. The country has 42 units with a total capacity in 2004 of 59 million m3/year. The Ministry of Water Resources plans to greatly increase capacity by constructing 28 new large-scale desalination plants, with a combined capacity of about 712 million m3/year.

17 Desalination Capacity in Non-Gulf MENA Countries Egypt: There are several desalination plants on the coasts of the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, which provide water for seaside resorts and hotels. Most desalination plants are privately owned. The average production during 1998–2002 was 100 million m3/year. Libya: Libya has the largest desalination plant in the world and produces a total of 18 million m3/year from its 17 plants. A number of new large plants are under construction.

18 Desalination Capacity in Non-Gulf MENA Countries Israel: The development of desalination plants began in 1960. The average production in 1990 was 25 million m3/year. Current capacity is 400 million m3/year, with plans for capacity to increase to 750 million m3/year by 2020. Jordan: In 2002, there were 19 plants with a total capacity of 4 million m3/year. The country plans to have desalination capacity of 17 million m3/year by 2010.

19 Desalination Capacity in Non-Gulf MENA Countries Tunisia: Because of the lack of good quality water in the south of Tunisia, the country has desalination plants to remove salt from brackish groundwater. The 48 plants have a total capacity of 47.5 million m3/year. A large seawater desalination plant with a capacity of 9 million m3/year is planned at Djerba to cope with the increasing water demand, mainly from tourism.

20 Renewable energies -The pressing need for sea water desalination leads to higher energy demand and to an unavoidable additional burden for the national economies. -There is no sustainable solution for water security based on fossil or nuclear energy, and moreover, there is a growing conflict between domestic consumption and export of fossil fuels. - At present, we experience increasing pressure on fossil fuel resources on a global scale, and an elevation of fuel prices. -Desalination by means of renewable energy sources and in a first place concentrated solar thermal power is a suitable solution for improving living conditions of people in arid areas and increase these regions energy autonomy.

21 Renewable energies Renewable energies can relieve the national economies from energy and water subsidies through: lower cost of primary energy lower external costs of energy income from export of solar electricity income from export of saved fuels income from emission trading The fact that renewable energies are much more evenly distributed than oil or gas reserves will lead to an eye- level approximation of the national economies of the MENA region.

22 Energy resources and consumption MENA Region is rich in natural resources, but unequally distributed: MENA Region has about 57% of the world’s proven oil reserves and 41% of proven natural gas resources. However, great gaps exist between countries rich in natural resources and countries dependent on such resources such as Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Syria, Yemen, Morocco and Tunisia.

23 Alternatives for Sustainable Energy and Water in MENA  Oil/Gas: High Cost Escalation Growing Domestic Needs will compete with Exports Climate vs. Cost (CO2-Sequestration)  Coal: Less Cost Escalation than Oil and Gas MENA would shift from Energy Exporter to Energy Importer New Source will require Infrastructure and Investment Climate vs. Cost (CO 2 -Sequestration)

24 Alternatives for Sustainable Energy and Water in MENA  Nuclear: Despite of massive subsidies, nuclear energy represents less than 1 % of market share MENA would shift from Energy Exporter to Energy Importer New Source will require Infrastructure and Investment Security vs. Cost (Nuclear Waste Disposal, etc.)  Solar: Cost De-Escalation MENA countries will export Solar Power New Source will require Infrastructure and Investment Climate + Security + Low Cost

25 Solar energy -Arable land resources in MENA are disappearing at a speed of several hectares per minute. -Concentrating solar multipurpose plants in the margins of the desert could generate solar electricity for domestic use and export, freshwater from seawater desalination and provide shade for agriculture and other human activities. -Such plants could turn waste land into arable land and create labor opportunities in the agriculture and food sector. -Tourism and other industries could follow. -Desertification could be stopped.

26 Solar energy -Using solar energy means manufacturing machines that use renewable energies. - It means replacing minerals from the subsoil by capital goods. - Renewable energies require a lot of labor on all industrial levels from base materials like steel, glass and concrete to civil engineering and high tech- applications.

27 Solar energy - Increased industrial activities will create job opportunities and reduce the brain-drain from MENA to the industrial countries. Solar energy and saltwater are unlimited resources if used in a way compatible with environmental and socio-economical constraints. The economic figures of most renewable energies indicate clearly that within a manageable time span they will become much more cost effective than fossil fuels. Renewable energies are the least cost option for energy and water security in MENA.

28 Desalination plant with solar in the village of Ksar Ghil é ne, South of Tunisia

29 Solar energy in MENA

30 Promotion of the potential for desalination using alternate energy sources is in need of major improvements Comprehensive institutional and policy reforms are required, including the creation of knowledge basis areas. Institutional and policy reforms

31 Projection of a future Trans-Mediterranean Grid interconnecting the Best Sites for Renewable Energy Use in EU-MENA

32 Conclusions There is a growing need to find solutions to the problems of fresh water supply in arid and semi-arid regions. The need is, often, for robust stand-alone desalination systems using locally available energy resources. The ability of communities to pay for these systems, is a significant limiting factor The continuous updating of national water policies, as regard institutional and policy reforms, must therefore be high on the agenda of each water-scare country.


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