A $10.5 billion water network including two desalination plants to serve the entire GCC was discussed during a meeting between senior government officials of the GCC in Bahrain.
All six electricity and water ministers from across the GCC gathered for the 26th annual GCC Electricity and Water Co-operation Committee meeting, chaired by State Minister for Electricity and Water Affairs Dr Abdulhussain Mirza.
Two possible locations have been earmarked for regional water plants – one in the Arabian Sea and another in the Gulf of Oman. It would cost an estimated $3 billion to build desalination plants and $7.5 billion for transmission lines, pumping stations and reservoirs that would serve the whole GCC.
"We currently use the Arabian Gulf for our water supply and we filter it," Dr Mirza said. "However, if anything were to happen to the water, if it was to be polluted, we couldn't use it. This proposed network would mean we could use seawater from the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.”
"We would plan to build desalination plants at those locations and connect it to the rest of the GCC by pipeline,” he added.
Ministers agreed to meet with consultants and review the proposal further, with a new report to be presented at next year's meeting.
"Once the studies are completed and found to be strategic and viable, then it will go forward," said Dr Mirza. "Alternative sources of energy were also discussed, particularly renewable resources."
The GCC electricity network, which connects Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE was another topic on the agenda.
"Now Oman will be joining through a cable line with the UAE," said Dr Mirza.
He said the project had proven to be hugely successful since it was launched in 2009. "All the countries are interconnected, and it allows for the surplus to go to another country if it's in need," he said.
"From July 2009 to July 2013, we managed to stop 700 possible incidents of electricity cuts across the different countries by using the network. Initially it was only for emergencies, so when a country needs the electricity it taps in automatically to the grid.
"We are now moving into a new phase, to trade the surplus so that we're sending the surplus through the grid and benefitting from it,” Dr Mirza added.
Gulf Daily News