Fresh water in Kuwait
( Historical development )
The striking progress realized by Kuwait in the field of water runs in parallel with her success in coping with the ever increasing demand for electricity. Both utilities are the major aspects of progress and advancement prompted by oil wealth and the persistent concerted efforts to further peoples’ amenity. However, the achievements realized are just a reflection of the effort and money invested by the state to sustain and promote this essential service.
Kuwait in the past relied on a scant number of wells to satisfy her needs for water. Those wells were the main source of fresh water supply an d added to them was water transported by dhows from Shatt-Al-Arab.
In 1905, the first well which relatively had a large fresh water capacity, was discovered in Hawally Area. In 1925, a Seafarer placed several empty barrels in the hold of dhow and sailed to Shatt-Al-Arab. He returned to Kuwait with the barrels full of fresh water and emptied them into a small reservoir near Shuwaikh. Transport of water by dhows continued for some, then water tanks supplanted the barrels and dhows were converted to water carriers.
In 1939, a Company was established to run such fleet of water carriers from Shatt-Al-Arab, while three reservoirs were constructed on the sea shore for the gathering an d storage of water transported at a rate of 8500 gallons / day. By 1946, the beginning of oil era, the company had 45 dhows for continuous transport of water at rate of 80.000 gallons / day.
However in 1951, KOC erected a small ( 80000 G/D ) sea water desalination plant at Mina Al-ahmadi and piped part of the water to Kuwait town.
The provision of potable water and electricity necessary for construction expansion was one of the major tasks given much care and attention by the Government. In 1953, the first ( 1 MIGD ) Distillation Plant in Shuwaikh was commissioned. It was later developed to comprise 10( total installed capacity 32 MIGD ) distillation units. During the year 1988, the Station’s installed capacity was reduced to 28 MIG after putting out of service three distillation units (capacity 4 MIG) due to their low efficiency or uneconomic operation and maintenance. With the expansion of demand for fresh water and electricity, it was pressing and imperative to develop new production centers.
During the vicious occupation in 1990, the Iraqis destroyed Shuwaikh Station completely.
Now, after major renovation / rehabilitation works, 3 distillers ( D1, D2 and D3 ) of 6.5 MIGPD capacity each totaling 19.5 MIGPD which are fed from 3 Boilers ( 12B, 12C and 12D ) along with Recarbonation System are also available and in operation.
In 1965, Shuaiba North D/Plant commenced production of fresh water – it consist of 7 ( 2 MIGD ) units, with total installed capacity 14 MIGPD. During the year 1988, the Station’s installed capacity was reduced to 9 MIG after putting out of service three distillation units ( capacity 5 MIG ) due to their low efficiency or uneconomic operation and maintenance. The Station is now out of service due to the destruction of its equipment and buildings during the Iraqi occupation.
As for Shuaiba South D/Plant, the first ( 5 MIGPD ) unit was commissioned in 1971. It now consists of 6 units with a total installed capacity of 30 MIGD. After refurbishment of all units, the production capacity of these units increased from 5 MIGD to 6 MIGPD thus total plant installed production capacity reached to 36 MIGPD.
In 1978, three distillation units at Doha East D/Plant were commissioned. It is now consists of 7 units with a total capacity of 42 MIGD.
In 1983, three distillation units at Doha West D/Plant were commissioned. It is now consists of 16 units with a total capacity of 110.4 MIGD at high temperature operation.
Likewise, six distillation units at Az-Zour Plant were commissioned in 1988 – it now comprises 16 distillation units bringing up total output to 115.2 MIGD at high temperature operation.
In 2006, four distillation units each with a capacity of 12.5 MIGPD and total production capacity of 50 MIGPD were commissioned at Sabiya Station. Other four distillers with the same capacity were commissioned during 2007 to bringing up total production installed capacity to 100 MIGPD.
It is rather obvious from the above mentioned data that the installed capacity of D/Plants in operation totals 423.1 MIGD while gross maximum consumption reached 409.4 MIG in 2009.
In the mean time fresh water gross production rose from 1773 MIG / year in the late fifties to ( 131729 ) MIG in 2009 while per capita average consumption of fresh water rose from 4604 IG/ year in 1959 to 22695 IG / year in 1989 and 37759 IG / year in 2009.
Reference : Water, Statistical year Book 2010, Ministry Of Electricity & Water - State of Kuwait