Drinking Water Sources In Kuwait

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Freshwater in Kuwait can be classified into four main categories:

underground water, bottled water, desalinated water by reverse osmosis (RO), and desalinated water by multistage flash (MSF).

2.1 Underground Water

Underground water in Kuwait can be classified into two main categories: brackish and fresh underground waters. The brackish water exists in the Kuwait Group Aquifer and Dammam Aquifer stretching east of the Arabian Peninsula and slightly sloping towards the Arabian Gulf. The main location of the brackish water wells are Sulaibia fields, Shagaya fields, Um-Qudair field and Al-Wafra and Al-Abdalia fields currently utilised by the Kuwait Oil Company, in addition to wells in the agricultural areas of Al-Wafra and Al-Abdalia (Figure 1). In 1997, the quantity of brackish water withdrawn, including that used for blending with desalinated water, was 65.7 MIGPD4.

As for fresh underground water, the first well that had a relatively large freshwater capacity was discovered in Hawally in 1905. Limited quantities were discovered during 1962 in both Al-Rawdatain and Um-Al-Aish fields. Pumping operations for these fields was commissioned in 1962 and their estimated natural reserve was about 40000 MIG. But after the Iraqi invasion, the Um-Al-Aish field was destroyed and, as a result, its' production was stopped. As for the Al-Rawdatain field, the usual rate of production capacity is about 1 MIGPD, which, when necessary, could be raised to 2.5 MIGPD for a period of 10 to 15 days at a maximum of three times a year to preserve the quality of water.

2.2 Bottled Water

Bottled water is a generic term that describes all water sold in containers. Natural mineral water is by definition and regulation untreated product water extracted from a naturally protected source. It differs fundamentally from bottled spring water and tap water, which rely upon treatment as a means of ensuring portability5. The main difference between bottled water and ordinary drinking water is that the bottled water has certain characteristic contents and concentration of certain minerals. This is obtained from natural underground sources either by natural flow or drilled bore holes and bottled with or without some treatment process (i.e., filtration and sterilisation). The mineral content of bottled water depends solely on the rocks and the duration that the water comes into contact with the geological surroundings.

Temperatures in desert climates reach about 50°C or higher during summer and causes countries like Kuwait to consume large quantities of natural mineral water. In Kuwait, there are more than 70 brand names of natural mineral water imported from all over the world and sold in the local markets. However, there is one brand name produced locally by Al-Rawdatain Natural Mineral Water Bottling Company.

Al-Rawdatain Natural Mineral Water Bottling Company was setup in November 1980 on a 50 square kilometre mineral water field, 100 kilometres north of Kuwait City with an operational capacity of 9.68 MIGPY. The actual yearly production of Al-Rawdatain water in the beginning of 1983 was about 4.8 MIG. Production of Al-Rawdatain natural mineral water is increasing every year, reaching a value of 7.26 MIG in 1995s.

Table 1 presents the chemical analysis for the bottled water available in Kuwait's market. The data presented in this table were taken from labels found on the water bottles. These labels usually show ten elements that represent the main key parameters,

Table 1 Water Analysis of Bottled Water Available in the Kuwaiti Market

No

Name

Country

pH

Bicarbonates

Chlorides

Sulphates

Nitrates

Fluoride

Calcium

Magnesium

Potassium

Sodium

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