Present and Future Wastewater Quantities and Reuse Demand in Kuwait

The State of Kuwait is located in an extremely arid zone with known water shortage. The country aptly embarked on ambitious programs in the search for new water source, including the proper treatment of wastewater treatment and its reuse for beneficial purposes. 

The main objective of the study was to build on information supporting the present and future plans on wastewater management in the country. In order to assess the status of wastewater management schemes at the present and future, the study collected published and unpublished data on quantities of wastewater generation and potential demands for reuse. To replenish available data, the study had also collected data through field surveys in areas of water consumption and wastewater generation from households, industries and commercial establishments in Kuwait.

Collected data was processed, analyzed and evaluated. Results of the assessment of present wastewater management schemes in the country and potential new schemes supported by present data are given in the final report of the project.


Assessment of Seawater Treatment at Sabiya Station using Mechanical Processes

At Sabyia station, the seawater quality is very high in turbidity due to high content of silt and sand. Currently, the quality of seawater at Sabyia causes some inconvenient operation and maintenance to the equipment of the station. Moreover, in spite of the availability of space for installing additional desalination and power generation units, the quality of the seawater limits the utilization of this site.


The main objective of this study is to assess the viability of enhancing the seawater quality for thermal and membrane desalination processes at Sabiya station. KISR researchers explored the possible treatment using mechanical treatment such as centrifuge/hydrocyclone units, which have the potential to substantially lower the silt and sand concentration to an acceptable level that allows using the seawater safely as feed for membrane and thermal desalination units as well as for power generation equipment.

Addressing this challenge, WRC’s researchers found that membrane desalination technologies could be used to develop a novel method for treating highly concentrated brines and wastes to recover high purity water and salts. The researchers were able to achieve an overall rejection total dissolved solids TDS rejection of more than 99% in each trial. The research resulted in the development of an outline for the future implementation of a pilot-scale project using ceramic-based tubular membranes as a candidate to treat Kuwait’s oil-produced saline water.

Assessment of Groundwater in the Ahmadi Area

Assessment of the groundwater levels and quality in selected water wells in the Ahmadi area to delineate the relationship between groundwater and the recent gas leakage in Ahmadi. 

WRC and the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) collaborated on a project to determine if the water wells in the Ahmadi residential area are being compromised by oil-production activities. In preparation for the study, WRC’s researchers collected water level measurements and groundwater samples from eight existing water wells within and outside of the Ahmadi residential area. The collected water samples were analyzed for physical, chemical, and organic matter for comparison with international standards.

The results showed that the water from the Ahmadi residential area wells contained a mixture of hydrogen sulfide, petroleum hydrocarbons, organic matter and iron. Hydrogen sulfide occurs naturally in Ahmadi's water wells. However, the presence of hydrocarbons, iron, and organic matter, and the variation in salinity were attributed to factors including; the design of the wells, stagnancy of the water, quality of injected water, and steel-casing material, as well as drilling and geophysical logging operations in the area.

Technical Assistance to the Monitoring and Assessment of the Environmental Damage to the Groundwater Resources of Kuwait

The Snowy Mountain Engineering Corporation (SMEC) of Sydney, Australia, requested technical assistance from WRC/KISR researchers to assess the damage inflicted to the groundwater resources of Kuwait during the Iraqi aggression in 1990. The main objectives of the study were to assess the damage to the freshwater aquifers from petroleum hydrocarbon contamination, select treatment system(s) for the contaminated fresh groundwater supplies, and conduct a long-term monitoring program for the fresh and brackish water aquifers in Kuwait.

WRC/KISR researchers provided SMEC with all available relevant data and information and support in several rounds of sampling in the freshwater fields of north Kuwait. Furthermore, The WRC developed a numerical model for groundwater flow and transport in the study area.

The study confirmed the contamination of the groundwater in the main depression of the Umm Al-Aish water field and in the southeastern part of the Al-Raudhatain water field. The project team recommended that remediation of the contaminated fresh groundwater of the Al-Raudhatain and the Umm Al-Aish fields should be a priority, in view of the strategic nature of these reserves. Better characterization of the hydrocarbon contaminants, however, will be necessary in order to select a suitable treatment options.

Hydrogeological Assessment of the Az-Zaqlah Depression for Artificial Recharge

Kuwait faces a critical challenge to develop a strategy for optimal use of its water resources wherein the national desalination capacity is adequate to meet the growing demand for potable water and there is a secure strategic reserve to meet unexpected emergencies. The current situation is further complicated by the deteriorating condition of our water aquifers due to overexploitation. KISR researchers have observed that while our desalination infrastructure will soon be inadequate to meet future demand there are times during the year when the demand from the agricultural industry for treated wastewater decreases, creating an oversupply of high quality, contaminant-free water.  This oversupply is a potentially untapped resource for recharging the water aquifers.WRC experts explored the feasibility of using artificial recharge for Kuwait’s aquifers by injecting the currently unused high quality water, from the RO treatment of wastewater. The artificial recharge could potentially reverse the decline of our naturally occurring aquifers, improve the quality of the groundwater, and enhance our storage supply of water for use in case of an emergency situation.

Development of Decision Support Maps for Groundwater Protection in Kuwait

KISR researchers prepared a baseline study for the Natural Water Resources Development and Protection (NWRDP) Program focusing on the objectives, develop maps illustrating the spatial distribution and relative rank of the national aquifer’s natural protection conditions, develop maps prioritizing the threats to groundwater quality, and design a national monitoring network and recommend regulatory guidelines for groundwater protection.

The study applied the concept of land surface zoning within the context of risk assessment architecture. It used GIS techniques and various approaches modified from US EPA’s ranking systems including DRASTIC.