Issues in the Middle East’s water sector


Eng. Khaldon
Secretary General,
Interview with H.E Eng. Khaldon Khashman, Secretary General, ACWUA (Arab Countries Water Utilities Association)

By Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl, Conference Director, Water Meter Middle East

Eng. Khashman is the keynote address speaking at the Water Meter Middle East seminar taking place on October 25, 2011 in Dubai. He will set the tone by opening the seminar with an informative presentation on “Monitoring flow meter is a key issue for customer satisfaction.”

What changes and trends have you noticed during your career in the Middle East water sector?
There are have been both institutional and structural changes, which have led to cooperation between different sectors but also more importantly an institutional decentralization. Examples are the case in Egypt (Holding Company) and ONEP (Morocco), with more involvement of the private sector in different aspects with more care of human resources and capacity building.

What is your take on the current use of water metering and perceptions on metering in the Middle East region?

There was not enough attention paid for water metering in the Arab water utilities as to the flow meter and smart meter as well as the monitoring flow meter, and much work still needs to be done. At the utilities level, they need to look at meters as key value for customer information system and GIS uses that leads to financial sustainability and water conservation.

The Water Meter Middle East seminar is featuring a case study on prepaid water metering in the Palestinian water sector. Is this completely new to the region or are there similar examples of this technology use in the sector?

To my knowledge it is the first experience in the region which might lead to reduce the water debt and increase collection, although on the other hand it might affect poor people and lead to health hazards. This should be a pilot project to obtain results to consider.

What message do you have for engineers in terms of water conservation in the region?

Engineers have to look outside the box and to develop best practices such as the use of water saving devices and more consideration in implementing rain water harvesting systems at homes.

For utilities and services providers, they need to implement best practices for protection, unaccounted for water, proper maintenance and pressure control on the water network.

For the full program to register, visit Water Meter Middle East seminar.