Manama tackles wastewater crisis

15 May 2014

Bahrain’s overhaul of its wastewater sector could set a precedent for using GCC aid where it is needed most

The filtering through of the promised aid from GCC neighbours has enabled Bahrain to begin addressing key development and infrastructure challenges. The kingdom’s wastewater sector is one area that Manama has prioritised for investment.

Years of underinvestment has resulted in the country’s wastewater facilities being overloaded and posing environmental and health risks for the local population. As a result, Manama is planning to invest $1bn over the next 5 years to tackle the issue, which will involve building new wastewater plants and network infrastructure.

Two of the largest projects planned in the wastewater sector, the long-awaited expansion of the Tubli sewage treatment plant (STP) and the construction of the planned Al-Madina al-Shamaliya STP, are being funded by the governments of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

Following the outbreak of political unrest in early 2011, the GCC said it would give $10bn to Bahrain over a 10-year period to build infrastructure in the member state. Its economy has struggled since protests began in 2011, and Manama is aware that a full return to political stability and solid economic growth can only be achieved through addressing infrastructure development and social issues.

The government hopes that progress with both of these areas can be achieved with financial assistance, and success with the proposed wastewater schemes is not only vital for the sector, but could also set a precedent for GCC aid to be utilised where it is needed most.

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