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Sanitation in Kuwait
Kuwait, or the State of Kuwait, is a country between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. After obtaining its independence from Britain in 1961, Kuwait was invaded by Iraq in Aug. 1990. In Feb. 1991, a U.S.-led U.N. coalition liberated Kuwait in four days. After their liberation from Iraq, Kuwait’s many tribal groups staged protests demanding their political rights. The oppositionists, mainly composed of Sunni Islamists, tribal populists and liberals, won nearly half of the seats in the national assembly in the 2016 election. Here are 10 facts about sanitation in Kuwait.

10 Facts About Sanitation in Kuwait

  1. There are no permanent rivers or lakes in Kuwait. While there aren’t any permanent water sources in Kuwait, there are Wadis, also known as desert basins. These basins fill with water during winter rains, which occur from Dec. to March. However the low amount of rainfall, which is about 121mm per year, and the high evaporation rate of water in Kuwait’s climate make rainfall an unreliable source of water.
  2. In 2015, Kuwait was on the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) list of countries with the highest water risk by 2040. Countries such as Bahrain, Palestine, Qatar, UAE, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Lebanon were on the same list. The WRI pointed to the Middle-East’s already limited water supply and climate change as criteria for their country rankings.
  3. In Kuwait, 99 percent of people have access to improved drinking water. Kuwait also has a well-developed water infrastructure. However, the country’s rapidly growing population since 2000 is putting a toll on Kuwait’s water supply. Even as early as 1946, Kuwait was importing 80,000 gallons of fresh water per day.
  4. Kuwait’s over-reliance on groundwater led to its reliance on desalinization for drinking water. Even during the early 20th century, the shallow wells that collected rainwater were drying out. According to the 2019 U.N. report, these desalination plants produce around 93 percent of Kuwait’s drinking water.
  5. Desalination is expensive. While some might think that desalination plants are the answer to Kuwait’s water supply problem, the cost of operating desalination plants can’t be ignored. Per cubic meter, desalinated water can cost up to $1.04. Adding on to this the price of energy, which accounts for three-fourths of the cost, and transportation, it is easy to see how expensive desalination is.
  6. In 2017 and 2018, the WHO recognized the excellent water quality in Kuwait. This recognition is a testament to the Kuwait government’s commitment to water quality in its country. However, the Director of Water Resources Development Center emphasized the importance of landlords, who are responsible for the quality of water for their buildings, in keeping water storage tanks free of bacterial infection.
  7. The Water Resources Development Center (WRDC) uses real-time GIS (Geographic Information System) to monitor water quality and sanitation in Kuwait. While desalination plants produce clean water, multiple factors such as damaged water pipes or an aging water infrastructure can lead to water contamination. The GIS allows WRDC to collect and process water data from numerous sensors throughout Kuwait in real-time.
  8. The CIA estimated in 2015 that 100 percent of the Kuwait population has access to improved sanitation facilities. This reflects the Kuwait government’s commitment to public health and sanitation. In 2013, for example, Kuwait invested $5.28 billion in its water sector. Water treatment plants received the highest investment of $3.4 billion.
  9. Kuwait is expanding its sewage treatment facilities. In 2018, a German-Kuwait consortium closed a $1.6 billion contract to expand Kuwait’s Umm Al Hayman (UAH) sewage treatment plant. When the facility’s expansion finishes, experts estimate that the new plant will process 700,000 cubic meters of sewage per day, compared to the original capacity of 500,000 cubic meters.
  10. Kuwait is working on more efficient usage of water. In 2011, the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) stated that Kuwait had the highest water consumption in the world. UNDP’s 2019 report indicates that efficient usage of water in Kuwait rose from zero percent in 2012 to 15.1 percent in 2016. MOEW (Ministry of Electricity and Water) achieved this by conducting community awareness-raising activities or building water tanks and wells to ensure long-term water conservation.

These 10 facts about sanitation in Kuwait highlight the success the nation has had in maintaining and providing sanitary water. However, Kuwait must now turn its attention toward securing stable sources of water. With the ever-looming threat of climate change, the UNDP recommends that Kuwait focus on sustainable development.

– YongJin Yi
Photo: Flickr

Climate change in developing countries

Germany, in conjunction with World Resources, has announced a new service that offers support for new programs to combat climate change in developing countries.

A Program for Autonomy

Though specifically designed to tackle climate change in developing countries, this service is available for all countries. The program intends to utilize the shared information of developing and developed countries alongside non-profit organizations and key businesses.

One of the program’s primary tenets is to offer customized advice to countries seeking help implementing INDCs or Intended Nationally Determined Contributes. INDCs refer to plans submitted in December of last year to the U.N. during climate change talks in Paris. However, many countries lack the understanding or funds necessary to execute INDCs.

The German Minister for the Environment, Barbara Hendricks, released the following statement: “We are ready to support developing countries in tackling this challenge and to share our experience with them. This should also give our partner countries new opportunities for development.”

Few Emissions, Many Consequences

According to the Center for Global Development, the world’s richest countries emit the bulk of greenhouse gasses responsible for climate change. Yet, developing countries and poorer communities will feel the effects of climate change more keenly in the coming years. Already, droughts in Africa and Asia have driven people away from their homes and toward coastal areas.

However, combating climate change in developing countries is not impossible. By implementing climate change measures into its national policy, Germany has taken a key first step toward a solution. Another target of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to mobilize $100 billion annually by 2020. This money, provided by developed countries, will go toward mitigating some of the needs of developing countries.

The First Step to Global Improvements

Furthermore, the U.N. hopes to help developing countries become more capable of responding to new climate change related issues. This includes educating women, youth, and marginalized communities on these issues. As a result, they may more readily contribute to a solution.

The importance of tackling climate change cannot be overstated. Ahead of the meeting in Germany, Development Minister Gerd Müller said, “We can only create a world without hunger and poverty if we all effectively promote climate protection.”

Sabrina Santos

Photo: Pixabay

Caterpillar's Role in International Development

Caterpillar Inc. is an Illinois based company that plays a dominant role in energy, trade, and infrastructure for developing countries. Yet Caterpillar is more than just business. The philanthropic efforts of the Caterpillar Foundation, founded in 1952, have contributed more than $550 million towards human development around the world. The Foundation has partnered with a variety of key organizations to fund projects in the areas of environmental sustainability, access to education, and meeting basic human needs for food, shelter, and healthcare.

As a Fortune 100 company with 2012 sales and revenues of $65.875 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives. They are best known for their big, yellow tractors. Caterpillar’s global reach and presence are unmatched in the industry. They have a presence in more than 180 countries around the globe and over 500 locations worldwide. More than half of their sales are outside the United States. As a powerful multinational corporation, Caterpillar has a very influential role in human development.

The Caterpillar Foundation invested $3 million during 2012 in a partnership with a World Resources Institute (WRI) project to promote the development of sustainable cities in China, India and Brazil. Through this “smart cities” initiative, WRI will work with five cities on strategies to increase energy efficiency, curb greenhouse gas emissions, and improve water quality, urban mobility and land use.

Specific project goals include solutions that will reach one billion people with new public transportation options; avoid 617,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions in the transportation area; reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and ammonia water pollution by 15 percent; and provide more reliable energy to 11 million industrial, corporate and residential consumers. In total, the Caterpillar Foundation expects to support this project with $12.5 million over five years – all in an effort to curb the negative environmental side effects of rapid urbanization in the developing countries.

The Resource Foundation is another partner of the Caterpillar Foundation. This $3 million partnership will reach more than 11,000 children in Latin America and the Caribbean over three years, beginning in January 2013. Through a regional strategy targeting specific communities in 10 countries, the program seeks to improve academic achievement, gender equity and life skills among primary school-age boys and girls from 54 schools.

The Caterpillar Foundation has also been a long-time supporter of Opportunity International’s microfinance programs in more than 20 countries around the world. The Caterpillar Foundation’s investment has helped Opportunity International provide life-changing microloans to more than 75,000 small entrepreneurs, create 30,000 jobs and give more than 60,000 rural families access to basic banking services. A majority of Opportunity International’s clients are women who reinvest more of their earnings into health care, education and their communities, which helps break the cycle of generational poverty. As of July 2012, Opportunity International has four million clients, 17,600 employees, 2.3 million insurance policies, and a 95 percent loan repayment rate.

– Maria Caluag

Source: Caterpillar,CSR Wire
Photo: Companies and Markets