CON­SER­VA­TION: NEED OF THE HOUR

With in­dus­trial devel­op­ment con­tin­u­ing apace and pop­u­la­tion ex­pan­sion out­strip­ping ex­pec­ta­tions, Qatar is both an elec­tric­ity hun­gry na­tion, and a thirsty one.

Qatar Today - - INSIDE THIS ISSUE -

With in­dus­trial devel­op­ment con­tin­u­ing apace and pop­u­la­tion ex­pan­sion out­strip­ping ex­pec­ta­tions, Qatar is both an elec­tric­ity hun­gry na­tion, and a thirsty one.

There­fore it's no great sur­prise that some QR13 bil­lion cur­rently is be­ing spent on elec­tric­ity projects alone, along with the five new gi­ant reser­voirs now be­ing built. Ten­der­ing is also un­der­way for a new 2400MW power sta­tion, ded­i­cated to a new de­sali­na­tion scheme. The ques­tion for many, how­ever, is whether even this ma­jor out­lay of in­vest­ment and project pipe­line will be enough to ac­com­mo­date the some­times ex­po­nen­tial growth that Qatar sees, with the pop­u­la­tion and the econ­omy set to grow still fur­ther in the years ahead.

Be­yond ex­pec­ta­tions

The Min­istry of Devel­op­ment Plan­ning and Sta­tis­tics (MDPS) keeps a very close eye on the pop­u­la­tion num­bers in the state, with the end of May fig­ure show­ing 2.174 mil­lion peo­ple.

In 2010, the to­tal was 1.67 mil­lion, and at the end of Jan­uary 2013, 1.9 mil­lion – a num­ber that the fore­casts had sug­gested wouldn't be reached un­til af­ter 2016.

In­deed, the growth rate was 7.6% be­tween 2011 and 2012, ac­cel­er­at­ing to 12.5% be­tween 2012 and 2013. MDPS officials told the lo­cal press at the end of 2013 that this rate might jump even fur­ther, too, to around 15% dur­ing 2013-2014.

Many of these are, of course, tem­po­rary work­ers who will re­turn home at the com­ple­tion of their projects, rather than a per­ma­nent pop­u­la­tion. At the same time, birth rates among Qatari na­tion­als have been steadily fall­ing in re­cent years, in line with in­creased pros­per­ity and the so­ci­o­log­i­cal changes it brings.

Nonethe­less, the over­all trend in num­bers is still up, cer­tainly for the short-to-medium term, with some 2.5 mil­lion peo­ple pre­dicted to be res­i­dents when the peak of con­struc­tion is reached in the lead up to the World Cup; if past trends con­tinue though, there may well be more.

All these peo­ple re­quire power and wa­ter. Mean­while, eco­nomic growth is feed­ing

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