WATER THINK TANK
Water demand management in the Mediterranean


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They also said on the topic in 2016

Interview1
Dr Céline Dubreuil-Imbert

Efforts to protect biodiversity in Turkey have been strengthened in recent years, in the face of severe constraints imposed by development. The concept of ecosystem services is now the focus of attention. This approach, which is positive and promising, enables stakeholders to be brought together for joint projects. The Turkish foundation DKM is an advocate of this approach and has already led several projects to highlight ecosystem services in farming regions and forested areas.

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Interview2
Dominique Heron

Water is vital for both men and for the economy: no water, no energy production! On the other hand, without energy, it seems rather difficult to treat water to make it drinkable. A joint management of those two resources is then crucial. Demands in water and in energy are closely tied.

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Interview Dr Céline DUBREUIL-IMBERT

Head of the program Water, Blue Plan

Water Think Tank : Pourquoi inciter les autorités locales méditerranéennes à renforcer leurs politiques de gestion de la demande en eau ?

Dr Céline DUBREUIL-IMBERT: Les indices d’exploitation des ressources en eau naturelles et renouvelables sont très élevés pour la plupart des bassins versants méditerranéens. Au regard des seuils d’alerte définis par l’ONU, les pays des rives Sud et Est sont déjà en situation de stress hydrique. L’impact du changement climatique aggrave progressivement cette situation, alors même que les besoins en eau à satisfaire augmentent. Il est de plus en plus difficile d’y répondre uniquement par une logique d’offre. Celle-ci a longtemps été privilégiée mais révèle aujourd’hui ses limites techniques, financières et environnementales. Les leviers d’action les plus pertinents reposent désormais sur la gestion de la demande. Le Plan Bleu a récemment publié un guide méthodologique pour aider les autorités locales à identifier ces leviers et les mesures à mettre en œuvre.

W.T.T. : Intéressant, en quoi consiste précisément ce guide et comment a-t-il été conçu ?

Dr C.D-I. : Le guide détaille une démarche logique, en cinq étapes, avec des exemples et des outils concrets. Nous avons identifié plus d’une centaine de mesures adaptées au contexte méditerranéen et les avons répertoriées selon leur nature (gouvernance, règlementation, technique, tarification, subvention, communication…) et selon les usages ciblés (agricole, domestique, touristique, industriel). Le principe du guide est d’aider une autorité locale à sélectionner les mesures qui correspondent au contexte d’un bassin versant, de les évaluer à travers des analyses coûts-avantages et enfin d’arbitrer entre les meilleures options. Les messages et les exemples qui présentés s’appuient sur une étude qui a permis l’analyse coûts-avantages de vingt mesures déjà mises en œuvre en Tunisie.

Le guide d’aide à la décision publié par le Plan Bleu sur la base des travaux du cabinet Nomadeis propose et alimente une réflexion en cinq étapes :
1. Dresser un état des lieux du territoire : caractéristiques du bassin versant, besoins en eau, mesure déjà déployées..;
2. Définir les besoins et les objectifs : hiérarchiser les besoins en termes quantitatifs et qualitatifs, identifier les usages exclusifs et complémentaires ;
3. Présélectionner les mesures appropriées de gestion de la demande en eau ;
4. Evaluer l’impact des mesures de gestion de la demande en eau présélectionnées à travers des analyses coûts-avantages ;
5. Arbitrer en les différentes mesures envisagées.

W.T.T. : L’eau est un enjeu complexe, ce guide est-il vraiment opérationnel ?

Dr C.D-I. : Oui, nous l’avons testé lors d’un séminaire co-organisé avec la Banque Mondiale et réunissant une trentaine d’experts et praticiens du secteur de l’eau. Il améliore la compréhension mutuelle des enjeux locaux, nourrit la réflexion collective, permet d’évacuer des idées reçues et de résoudre des conflits d’usage. Il met aussi l’accent sur la prise en compte d’externalités environnementales et sociales, parfois sous-estimées dans les processus décisionnels.



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Interview Dominique HERON

President of the Environment and energy Commission – ICC France

Water Think Thank : En quoi l’eau et l’énergie sont-elles liées ?

Dominique HERON : De deux manières : d’une part l’énergie est nécessaire pour produire et distribuer l’eau, et d’autre part la production d’énergie est fortement dépendante de la ressource en eau. Les besoins en eau des installations énergétiques constituent une demande d’ordre stratégique. La raréfaction de l’eau et l’explosion de la demande en énergie dans le monde impose une nouvelle approche prospective de l’interdépendance eau-énergie. La Commission Environnement et Energie a donc engagé une réflexion de fond concernant « la demande en eau pour l’énergie ». Sur les questions de gouvernance, dans un premier temps.

W.T.T. : Quelles ont été les conclusions de ce travail concernant la gouvernance eau-énergie préconisée pour assurer une gestion efficace de ces ressources ?

D. H. : Avec la croissance démographique, l’urbanisation et l’évolution des modes de vie, plus d’eau et plus d’énergie sont nécessaires pour assurer le développement économique et le bien être des sociétés. Des conflits d’usages de l’eau peuvent apparaître, puisque l’eau est indispensable pour l’agriculture, l’industrie, les utilisations domestiques, mais aussi pour les écosystèmes. Une gestion durable de la ressource en eau impose la mise en place d’un dialogue pérenne et d’une relation de confiance entre tous les usagers, y compris les producteurs d’énergie. Le rôle des pouvoirs publics est donc de mettre en place un cadre favorable à cette gouvernance inclusive. L’expérience montre que cet échange doit être structuré à l’échelle des bassins versants, et non pas selon les découpages administratifs habituels.

La Commission Environnement et Energie du Comité français de la Chambre de commerce internationale préconise cinq bonnes pratiques pour répondre à ces enjeux :
1. Développer une approche qualitative de la consommation en eau d’un mix énergétique à travers les concepts de débit et de qualité de la ressource ;
2. Répondre au défi de l’interdépendance eau-énergie grâce à l’innovation technologique ;
3. Réguler les usages de l’eau en intégrant les industriels de l’énergie en tant que parties prenantes à part entière ;
4. Penser l’interaction eau-énergie à l’échelle du bassin versant ;
5. Prendre en compte l’impact social des projets industriels sur les communautés.

W.T.T. : Dans tous les cas, la ressource en eau est limitée. Comment satisfaire les besoins de tous ?

D.H.:Il n’y a pas de solution miracle. Une gestion plus efficiente de la demande est désormais nécessaire, notamment concernant l’irrigation ou les usages industriels. Toutes les technologies de production d’énergie n’ont pas la même « empreinte hydrique » non plus, et certaines énergies renouvelables sont très gourmandes en eau, par exemple l’hydroélectricité. Il y a aussi un enjeu de sensibilisation pour limiter la consommation domestique et le gaspillage.




Interview3
Ola Sidani

Lebanon, like other Mediterranean countries, has to manage structural imbalances between water supply and demand. A number of ambitious projects are being developed to increase the availability and storage of water. However, innovation in the field of financing and economic models is still at an early stage in Lebanon. These new models could promote more sustainable management and take better account of the cultural services derived from natural reservoirs of water, which are currently undervalued.

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Interview4
Malek Al Rawashdeh

Jordan, which was the second most arid country on the planet in 2014, experiences severe water scarcity, and the tensions have been exacerbated since the civil war broke out in Syria, resulting in a large number of refugees heading for Jordan. These tensions around water have brought economic, social and political problems in their wake. Conscious of the challenges, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation has set out a proactive national strategy covering the period until 2025. It is investing in innovative projects and working with the international community to find sustainable water management solutions for Jordan.

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Interview Ola SIDANI

Presidency of the Council of Ministers of Lebanon, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Economist

Water Think Thank : Could you remind us of UNDP’s main objectives and explain your role within the organisation?

Ola SIDANI: Ola SIDANI: At the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, UNDP is responsible for building the decision-making capacity of the Office of the President of the Council of Ministers (OPCM). More specifically, UNDP manages economic and social development issues at the OPCM level and coordinates interdepartmental projects and programmes.

As a UNDP economist within the OPCM, my role involves coordinating and monitoring interdepartmental projects relating to various aspects of economic reform and the potential for growth at the national level, socio-economic development, external trade with one or more countries, particularly those in the Arab world, drafting speeches for the Prime Minister, supervising strategies for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and defining economic directions and agendas for the government.

W.T.T. : What is the status of the water sector in Lebanon?

O. S. : According to the National Strategy for the Water Sector, approved by the Council of Ministers on 09/03/2012, in 2010 total demand, under the moderate scenario, was 1,473 million cubic metres per year. To take into account the needs of Syrian refugees, this figure needs to be increased by a further 30%. At the same time, supply stands at 1,377 million cubic metres per year: 46% surface water, 51% groundwater and 3% recycled water.

The gap between supply and demand is linked to several key challenges in the water sector:
Limited water resources which are not used optimally, combined with a significant increase in demand;
Inadequately maintained distribution networks, resulting in substantial losses and interruptions in supply;
A pricing policy which is ineffective and has low recovery rates;
A flawed legislative and regulatory framework that discourages private sector involvement in improving the efficiency of supply services.

Consequently, the country needs to increase its water storage capacity by building dams and developing projects in lakes at altitude. Several ambitious projects are currently being implemented, including the Greater Beirut Water Supply Plan, of which the Awali dam represents the first phase, the Janneh dam, the Balaa dam, the Mseilha dam and the Qaisamani dam.
The water distribution networks need to be overhauled so that they can better serve certain regions of Lebanon. In this area too, numerous investments have been made to improve transmission and distribution networks throughout the country.

W.T.T. : Could you describe the skills required in Lebanon’s water sector compared with other Mediterranean countries?

O. S. : Skills and training requirements are particularly significant in the fields of sanitation, waste water treatment and water recycling techniques. Lebanon and other countries surrounding the Mediterranean share the same problems in terms of pollution of fresh water reservoirs, and thus the same need to recycle more water. Lebanon also has a shortage of experts available to improve the efficiency of water management services.

These requirements can be met through technical assistance, along the lines of the European programme providing support and technical assistance to accelerate the development of the water sector. Strengthening higher education and training by industry professionals is another key aspect. Deeper cooperation with other Mediterranean countries could make a contribution here by promoting the sharing of knowledge, experience and best practices.

W.T.T. : What are the main challenges with respect to the economic model and financing of the water sector?

O. S. : With regard to ambitious projects and the construction of infrastructure, the main financing challenges are encountered in expropriation (إستملاكات), as in the case of the Awali project. Connecting households to distribution networks can also prove difficult to finance.

Financing mechanisms in the water sector are dependent on governance. They are linked to the development of policies and laws, and to the way in which authority is exercised in managing the country’s economic and social resources. Financing for water development projects is derived from a country’s system of governance or the priorities established by the government for investment in the water sector.

An effective water sector is one which is self-financing. Reducing losses and modernising distribution networks, using drip irrigation in place of traditional systems, and introducing various innovative processes will contribute to improving the efficiency of the water sector in Lebanon. This optimisation will directly affect investments made by water management organisations and will therefore help to reduce consumer bills. Currently in Lebanon, the pricing structure for water does not include a method for recovering the costs of supply: prices do not encourage efforts to save water because there are no meters in each household. Pricing procedures for water in Lebanon are based on an approximate volumetric rate per cubic metre (based on surface area).

In the water sector, economic and financial tools can contribute to reducing social inequality and protecting the environment, particularly where different price ranges are applied depending on water consumption. Under this approach, large consumers such as industrial facilities pay more than others. The polluter pays principle is also effective in imposing sanctions on those who pollute water sources. None of these mechanisms currently exists in Lebanon. However, a price for waste water treatment was recently introduced to water bills, depending on the region’s connection to a water treatment plant.

Water Think Thank : As someone who likes poetry and who writes, do you think that enough consideration is given to the cultural value of water?

O. S: I’ve not really written about nature yet, but I regularly write about my love and passion for my country. Nature is a muse, a source of inspiration for writing in general. And preserving Lebanon’s natural beauty spots is something which is very dear to my heart.

Water is a source of life, of biodiversity and absolutely a source of beauty. This is why I believe that it is really important to protect our wealth of water resources – fresh water sources, natural lakes and waterfalls. Jeita Grotto, located on the western flank of Mount Lebanon, was even selected as one of the finalists for a competition to identify the ‘Seven New Wonders of the World.’

I think that, because of the 15-year civil war in Lebanon, followed by a period of internal tension and political struggle aimed at returning the country to its position and prosperity, requiring huge efforts to rebuild its economy and social cohesion, cultural heritage was relegated to second place and did not receive the attention it deserved. In recent years, however, there has been a real awakening with respect to the need to protect Lebanon’s cultural and natural heritage. Civil society is beginning to invest in preserving the assets of Lebanese heritage because they have an important role to play in the development and revival of tourism, particularly nature tourism. The concept of cultural services derived from water is part of this approach.

It is my view that the economic value of these cultural services should be measured and taken into account when conducting feasibility studies for water projects. Certain problems are not quantifiable or cannot be expressed as a monetary value; however, the entire sector, including social, tourism and rural development aspects, is extremely important and contributes to the country’s economic performance. Water is part of Lebanon’s cultural and natural wealth. It gives the country a unique identity within the region. Water is our asset. We must conserve our water resources and the associated cultural services at any price.



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Interview Malek Alrawashdeh

Ministry of Water and Irrigation / Water Authority of Jordan, Deputy Secretary General for Waste Water Re-Use, Jordan

Water Think Thank : Could you tell us about water governance in Jordan?

Malek ALRAWASHDEH: First of all, we should recall that Jordan has one of the highest levels of water stress in the world, ranked the second most arid country according to the UN in 2014. The average annual volume of precipitation in Jordan is 8.2 billion cubic metres, a very small amount compared with, for example, France, which receives 501 billion cubic metres of precipitation a year. In addition to these limited and unevenly distributed resources, the country is under intense pressure from migration due to the arrival of Syrian refugees in Jordan.

In the face of these significant challenges, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation is the central body for management and monitoring of the water sector in Jordan. It acts at all levels and in all areas:
• Management of water supply
• Waste water treatment
• Resource planning and management
•Research and development
• Information systems
• Funding for the sector
• Centralisation, standardisation and consolidation of data and statistics about water
• Developing strategies and national policies on all issues relating to water: management of water demand, energy efficiency and renewable energy, waste water re-use, redistribution of water resources, optimisation of public services, climate change adaptation and resistance, decentralisation of water management, action plans, etc.

The Ministry of Water and Irrigation supervises the two main bodies in the sector: the Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ), which is responsible for waste water treatment and re-use, and the Jordan Valley Authority (JVA), in charge of the socio-economic development of the valley, particularly with respect to water distribution and irrigation.

W.T.T. : How has the Syrian crisis that you mentioned affected the water sector in Jordan?

M. A. : Jordan was already experiencing structural problems with water but they have been magnified since the beginning of the war in Syria. The Jordanian Government estimates that there are nearly 1.4 million Syrians currently living in Jordan (for a Jordanian population of 6.6 million in 2015). The majority of the Syrians live in local communities, with 20% in refugee camps.

Demand for water has quite simply risen very rapidly since the Syrian crisis began. Total domestic water consumption rose from 352 million cubic metres in 2010 to 450 million cubic metres in 2016 at the country-wide level. The north of Jordan is particularly affected, and experienced a 36% rise in household water consumption over the same period. At the same time, annual availability per inhabitant fell to 125 cubic metres in 2016, compared with 147 cubic metres in 2010. If you consider that the threshold for water scarcity has been established at 1,000 cubic metres per inhabitant, Jordan finds itself in a situation of extreme tension.

The effects of the Syrian crisis are also reflected in the breakdown of water consumption by sector. Domestic use is increasing at the expense of agriculture and industry. It currently represents nearly 45%, up from 39% in 2010. Conversely, the use of water for crop irrigation saw a decline in share from 56% to 51%.

The gap between supply and demand continues to widen not only in terms of quantity, but also quality. Groundwater provides the main water supply in Jordan, and it is under significant threat from pollution and depletion. The decline in the static water level is between one and 20 metres per year. The entire water treatment and re-use system is also affected.

In addition, these problems have resulted in economic and social challenges. For example, coverage of the costs of maintaining and developing infrastructure in the sector fell from 110% in 2010 to 70% in 2014.The Ministry of Water and Irrigation reacted by putting in place the National Water Strategy (2016–2025).
En réaction, le Ministère de l’eau et de l’irrigation a mis en place une Stratégie Nationale de l’Eau pour la période 2016-2025.

W.T.T. : What solutions have the Jordanian authorities put in place to prevent a water crisis?

M. A. : Jordan is seeking to draw on best practices developed throughout the world and to invest in new models, new approaches and new technologies.

In order to achieve this, it has forged partnerships with a number of countries, businesses, agencies, associations and other relevant bodies. For example, Jordan is part of the ACWUA platform for cooperation between Arab nations. Since 2009, this platform has sought to develop common networks for training and skills development. The water sector and public services are in need of scientists, experts and trained engineers to help them meet their objectives. The ACWUA has a presence in 18 Arab countries and works on projects in partnership with international organisations such as GIZ and the European Union.

Another major focus of the National Water Strategy is the aim of reusing waste water, particularly for agriculture. In 2015, 26% of water resources used for irrigation were already sourced from the recycling of waste water. The As-Samra water treatment plant is one of the flagship projects of this ambition. Following modernisation and an increase in capacity achieved as a result of a BOT contract involving private-sector international partners, the plant can now handle 364,000 cubic metres of waste water per day. In addition, it produces 80% of its own energy requirements, thanks to its hydropower capacity and the production of biogas.

Another example of international cooperation on a key theme is the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme implemented between 2010 and 2015. The objective was to install an effective observation network to produce reliable and neutral data in order to support water governance and cross-border management in Jordan. Forty percent of Jordan’s water resources are shared with neighbouring countries, so this data is strategic in nature.

Collaboration and cooperation are, consequently, at the heart of Jordan’s national strategy for the water sector.