The reliability of sustainable water system and infrastructure in Kuwait




Alrukaibi, Duaij

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Economic, environmental, and social components form the structure of sustainable development and characterize the positive or negative trends in sustainability, which are a unique sustainable index. The Kuwait water system is considered a case study in this research to develop a methodology for identifying sustainable water systems, especially in terms of the high water demand per capita and high supply of desalinated water. This research provides certain answers to the following issues: 1) the sustainable water system path for Kuwait is unknown; 2) the low price of water for consumers is a reason for the wastefulness in water consumption in Kuwait; 3) there is no sustainable model for the water infrastructure in Kuwait to control and maintain its system; and 4) building a new desalination plant will put pressure on reducing the oil products' revenues that are export to global market. Sustainable water supply systems must be designed and operated so as to accomplish the following: minimize energy use, maximize efficient use of water as a resource, and limit (or even decrease) the associated environmental impacts of water usage. Increasing the production of water and the associated infrastructure are not necessarily sustainable solutions to the challenges of population growth. Consequently, this research provides the following solutions to work together in parallel: 1) Model Urban City (MUC); 2) Sustainable Water System and Infrastructure of Kuwait (SWSIK); 3) Sustainable Kuwait Index (SKI); and 4) reform the current water price policy in Kuwait. This research is dependent on three foundation--MUC, SWSIK, and SKI--to characterize sustainability in Kuwait and to analyze the environmental and economic impacts under three different water price scenarios during the period of 2013-2017. Numerical modeling, Infowater application, is used to connect the data with Arc GIS software to monitor the progress toward sustainability for 78 areas in the country. The Sustainable Water System and Infrastructure of Kuwait (SWSIK) tool is developed in this study and provides a comprehensive tool that analyzes water consumption due to water price policies to determine the energy needed from fossil fuels, the energy costs, and the environmental impacts. The Sustainable Kuwait Index (SKI) is a unique numeric value of 16 indicators. The sustainability indicators for the Kuwait water system are classified into two main categories: environmental and socio-economic, in which the resources, infrastructure, and capacity are components in the environmental category. SKI is determined for urban areas in Kuwait between 2008 and 2012, characterizing the state of sustainability. Population growth and new urban development push decision makers to find alternative solutions--such as reforming water price policies--to reduce wasteful water consumption in both normal and critical times. Two water price policy scenarios were proposed to be implemented, instead of the current water price policy (0.624 per m³). The first scenario involves a constant price charged for water consumption at $1 per m³. The second scenario involves a different structure to schedule water price: free allowance (150 L/C/day) followed by a constant price charged for water consumption over 150 L at $1.6 per m³. The time frame to test both proposal scenarios is between 2013 and 2017. In order to get water for free, the second proposal scenario encourages consumers to consume water wisely. This proposal scenario is acceptable for both consumers and policymakers, and it provides economic and environment benefits for both sides. The second scenario will postpone the need for new desalination plants until 2023. SKI scores are determined for the three water price scenarios during the proposal time (2013-2017) for 78 urban areas in Kuwait. By applying the first scenario ($1.0 per m³), the Kuwait government will save almost 5 million barrels per year from oil products (crude oil, gas oil, and HFO) and reduce natural gas usage by 31% per year. On the other hand, the second scenario can reduce the usage of oil products and natural gas in desalination plants by 26% per year. CO2, SO2, and NO2 emissions under the first and second scenarios were reduced in the range between 26% and 33% per year. Overall, a shortage will occur in 2014 if the Kuwait government does not change the water price structure. The current water price ($0.624 per m³) gives zero economic value to consumers. As a consequence, water bills were not collected effectively due to the low cost. The first scenario, which charges $1 per m³, might be unacceptable for consumers due to the stigma associated with increasing prices. The second scenario, however, satisfies the sustainability conditions, which are: 1) to save the environment; 2) to reduce costs; 3) to be acceptable to society; and 4) to achieve policymakers' goals. The results obtained in this research are intended to promote water system management and provide sustainable indicators to evaluate the development of a sustainable of water infrastructure in Kuwait.



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