Kuwait spearheading Gaza desalination project

Kuwait's overall contribution to the reconstruction of Gaza is $200mln

  

BRUSSELS - Kuwait is playing a dominant role to push for construction of a desalination plant in Gaza aimed at alleviating the water hardships being faced by two million Gazans.

"We want to send a message to the people in Gaza that this project is not dead. It is alive and the actual construction has already started," Dr. Mohammed Sadeqi, engineering advisor in the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) told the Kuwait news agency, KUNA.

Sadeqi spoke to KUNA after participating in the one-day Coordination Meeting on the Gaza Central Desalination Programme hosted by the European Commission in Brussels which ended Friday evening.

He noted that Kuwait's overall contribution to the reconstruction of Gaza is USD 200 million as a grant administered by the KFAED. From this amount, USD 60 million is designated for the Gaza desalination plant.

The project consists of building a desalination plant and water conveyors that take the produced water to northern and central Gaza. More than two million people will benefit from the project, he noted .

The project is in the phase of completing the financial plan. Fifty percent of the total cost of the project valued at over 500 million euro (USD 568 million ) will come from Arab countries and the other fifty percent from international donors.

The Arab donors are managed by the Islamic Development Bank, while KFEAD is managing its own contribution which is 60 USD million. The Arab countries have already committed the fifty percent.

"There is some deficiency on the part of international donors. So this meeting was aimed at coordinating our efforts so that we can attract other donors to participate in this important project," said the Kuwaiti representative.

The total commitment by the Arab side and the international donors has reached to about 80 to 85 percent, he clarified.

"We are here to attract new donors to fill the gap. It is always encouraging to have these kind of meetings to have new ideas" to press ahead with the project (the desalination plant". KFEAD is taking the lead in starting the actual implementation of the project," said Sadeqi.

"We started by building the conveyors that will take the water when it is produced by the desalination plant. We started in July 2018," he said.

"We think the whole project will take another three-and-a-half years or so to complete , and by 2023 all the components of the project will be finished," he stated.

Sadeqi described the situation in Gaza as "very dire and very difficult. " "There is scarcity of water resources. The underground water is salty . There is sea water intrusion in the aquifer that they rely on to get their water supply," said the Kuwaiti engineer .

The desalination plant that currently exists in Gaza are very small and that is why they are looking forward to this big 150,000 cubic metres of desalination plant, he explained.

The desalination project also consists of power generation so that it can supplement the current capacity of electricity they have.

"If we don't have clean water this will lead to diseases , to anarchy and to so many bad things. We want stability in that region so that people can focus on development," said Sadeqi.

"This is our message , to work together , cooperate together with international donors to try to eliminate the suffering of the people," he said.

Besides the EU, representative from the World bank, the Islamic Development bank, the European Investment bank , the KFAED as well as other international donors attended the

Brussels meeting, The EU on 20 March 2018 had hosted a pledging conference on the Gaza Central Desalination Plant & Associated Works Project in Brussels. (end) nk.rk

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