DOHA: In an important development, Qatar has begun using treated sewage water for irrigation at a fairly large scale so as to bolster efforts to encourage agricultural production.
The Ministry of Environment has taken the lead in this matter and has started using treated sewage water to irrigate agricultural land. The area identified for the purpose is Sabkha in Dukhan. Here, some 833 sq km area which is saline is being irrigated using the treated sewage water. It is quote appreciative that the ministry has decided to make the land in the abovementioned area arable by using biological methods and drainage water, a local Arabic daily reported yesterday.
The daily said that Qatar needs approximately 35,000 tonnes of animal feed every year for cattle breeding, while it produces merely 6,000 tonnes. The gap between the demand and supply is quite wide.
It is natural then that the country has to largely depend on huge quantity of imported animal feed which calls for a lot of expenditure besides making the country reliant on overseas, according to the ministry. One square kilometres of land in Sabkha can produce 3,500 tonnes of fresh cattle feed a year by using four million cubic meters of treated sewage water, the daily said. Currently, 60 million cubic meters of treated sewage water is being used to irrigate public parks and gardens and cattle feed farms all over the country.
Meanwhile, a latest study conducted by the ministry has revealed that population and industrial expansion are putting immense pressure on natural water resources of the country which remain quite restricted.
Ground water is the primary source of natural water throughout the GCC region, which, of course, includes Qatar. However, 98 percent of this much valuable and scarce water resource is used for agricultural purposes, according to the daily. Also, every year some 250 million cubic meters of ground water is consumed in Qatar, while annual rainfall, which is quite scanty in the country, can only add some 81 million cubic meters of ground water.
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