Efficient water and power production vital: World Bank

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JEDDAH. October 13. KAZINFORM Climate change, demographic pressure, finance, energy and food production are the predictable pressures that are looming ever more threateningly on the horizon and which have to be addressed now. Jamal Saghir, the director of the World Bank, left delegates in no doubt as to the importance of the challenges to the Kingdom and mankind in general over the next 40 years or so when he addressed the Saudi Water and Power Conference on Monday; Kazinform refers to the Arab News.

"The aquifers are emptying and have about forty years left in them," he told delegates. "They will be empty at the point when climate change is at its peak. The government has to adopt long term policies to address this."

He noted that food and energy demands would rise increasing the pressure on water supplies. Climate change would add pressure through variability of water supplies and increase the security risks associated with places of plenty and shortage. The credit crisis, he said, had threatened a shortage of finance for new energy and water infrastructure projects and maintenance.

It was, he opined, impossible to address these as single issues. A holistic approach that took the links between water and energy production was needed.

He gave the example of China - which when growing at eight to one percent a year exhibited a growth in water demand of 15 percent. "The link is cyclical; if we produce energy more efficiently, then we use less water, which in turn means we use energy more efficiently," he said.

Saghir said that the technology existed to make vast energy and water savings, pointing out that recycling wastewater for reuse was very low in most countries, with Israel leading the reusers with a rate of 30 percent. The key was to recognize the link between energy and water use and develop integrated polices that addressed both issues; Kazinform cites the Arab News.

See www.arabnews.com for full version

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