Water Journal : Water Journal December 2013
WATER DECEMBER 2013 18 CrossCurrent POSTCARD FROM KUWAIT CITY -- from Mike Dixon Like many, when I hear the name Kuwait, images from the Iraqi invasion and subsequent Gulf War come to mind. However, earlier this year I learned that this is only one chapter in its rich history; Kuwait City is a city of intrigue, surprises and dichotomy. After being presented with the International Desalination Association's Fellowship Award in 2012 I travelled to Kuwait at the end of December for a six-week attachment with the Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW). I arrived to sub-10°C temperatures and a lovely Persian Gulf view while staying in Sumiya (luckily it was cold, because swimming in the ocean is prohibited). Desalination in Kuwait has a long history, with the world's rst large municipal distillation plant installed in 1953. Since then MEW has expanded its distillation capacity, mostly using Multi Stage Flash (MSF) technology. More recently Reverse Osmosis (RO) has been introduced with a plant at Shuwaikh, the city's main port. A second RO plant at Az-Zour is under construction while a third plant at Doha is in the pre-quali cation stages. As MEW's experience is largely MSF-based, their aim was to learn more about RO technology from me, while my aim was to broaden my knowledge about desalination practices in the Middle East. During my time with MEW, their design department became my base under the supervision of Engineer Zamzam Al-Rakaf, who appointed Engineer Nawal Al-Azemi as responsible for organising my activities across Kuwait. My work for MEW involved several short consultancy projects where I assessed issues and provided feedback on potential solutions. I visited the Shuwaikh RO Plant to comment on operations, the Shuaiba MSF Plant to learn about the distillation process (new to me), and the Az-Zour RO Plant construction site to observe progress. As part of the scholarship I also undertook a project of my own choice. In 2012 Red Tide Algae Bloom was a topical issue and, using outcomes of a previous workshop I was a part of in Oman, I shared lessons with the MEW designers and operators about red tide. Kuwait is considered an area at risk of red tide bloom because of the ideal conditions created by shallow, warm waters at the head of the Arabian Gulf. Undertaking the IDA's Fellowship attachment was a rewarding career-building experience. It taught me to look beyond how I normally work and assess problems from different perspectives. I learned a huge amount about Middle Eastern culture and gained useful insights about their attitudes toward problems, which I found can vary vastly to those of the West. TOURIST TIPS If you're visiting Kuwait City I highly recommend a visit to the Tareq Rajab Museum and the Museum of Islamic Calligraphy, ancient Qurans, jewelry and weapons from Persia and beyond -- saved by quick thinking and a bricked-up doorway before the war. The Scienti c Centre has a large aquarium and the Centre's nearby dhows and other shing boats provide an appreciation of Kuwait's wealth generators before oil -- pearls and shing. A visit to the Old Souq (market) is a must-do as a contrast to the new, gigantic, opulent malls bursting with Western culture and fast food. Perhaps the most relevant attraction for AWA readers would be the landmark Kuwait Towers and the Kuwait Water Towers designed by the same company and built in the 1970s. They're easily the most impressive and glamorous water towers I've ever seen! Mike Dixon is Senior Applications Engineer at NanoH2O, Inc in El Segundo, California. Kuwait Towers: the centrepiece of six sets of towers around Kuwait and an icon of the city. A typical scene in downtown Kuwait.- Another set of water towers -- a typical sight in Kuwait. A traditional Kuwati building, which was devastated during the invasion.
Water Journal November 2013
Water Journal February 2014