March Theme: WATER

by Katrin Scholz-Barth, President, SustainableQatar

In observation of World Water Day on March 22, SustainableQatar choose WATER as the theme for the month of March for our weekly challenges.

Situated in a tropical desert, Qatar’s water resources are scarce. Do you know how much rain Qatar receives on average per year? Take a guess. So where does all of our drinking water come from? 100 percent of Qatar’s drinking water is provided through desalination, an energy-intensive process. In Qatar, desalination is co-located with energy plants and reuses the waste-heat for a multi-flash distillation process to separate the salt from the seawater and make it drinkable.

Water consumption per capita in Qatar is a whopping 500 liters/day – one of the highest in the world. In the TED talk A Country without Water, HE Fahad Al-Attiyah calls for water conservation. We at SustainableQatar encourage and empower you with our weekly challenges to first observe and then take personal action in support of Qatar National Vision 2030, the 2015 Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

Last year, Capetown, South Africa nearly ran out of water before seriously considering and engaging in water conservation campaigns. Innovation to the rescue! Art Director Moe Kekana of King James Public Relations company lead a team of young designers to work directly with artists and create 2-minute-long shower versions of popular songs. The ad campaign proved very popular to save water in South Africa before Capetown ran out of water. Yes, YOU, too, can make a difference in the world. One 2-min-shower per day.

Qatar receives 74 mm of rain per year. Compare this to the rainfall in the home countries of many of Qatar’s residents: India receives 1,083 mm and the Philippines receives 2,348 mm of rain on average per year. (source: The World Bank).

22 March: World Water Day

According to the World Water Day website:

“Drought and water scarcity – interconnected phenomena that often aggravate each other’s effects – can trigger major setbacks for the most disadvantaged populations: from famine to migration and displacement. A single year of drought can set back years of social development, in particular for vulnerable members of society. Water scarcity alone could cost some regions up to six percent of their GDP by 2050, in turn triggering mass migration and conflict over diminishing resources. In 2017, drought led to the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, when 20 million people across Africa and the Middle East came to the brink of starvation.

“According to the 2018 United Nations/World Bank High Level Panel on Water, 40 per cent of the world’s population is affected by water scarcity, with as many as 700 million people at risk of being displaced as a result of drought by 2030.  A lack of water – often the outcome of drought  – is already  fueling migration due to its impacts on people’s livelihoods.

“Learn more about the UNCCD Drought Initiative here.”

WATER Challenges

Challenge #1: Smart Gardening

Challenge #2: Shorter Showers

Challenge #3: Leaky Fixtures

Challenge #4: Every Drop Counts