Qatar is undoubtedly one of the most exciting countries of the Arabian Peninsula. In spite of its very inhospitable environment, the country has indeed been able to achieve an exceptional growth over the last ten years. The key to Qatar’s success surely lays within its confidence into science and highly technological solutions. This is how Qataris plan to turn a barren desert into a prosperous oasis.

Is Qatar a technology-friendly country? The answer is definitely Yes!: Qatar has proven to be a life size laboratory for many technological leaps. For many years, this country has also invested money into cutting edge infrastructures as well as in education. As a result, it has become a much esteemed market for foreign high-tech companies.

Since 2002, Qatar has undertaken to deeply renew its educational system. The national University system has been completely reshaped ten years ago. Doha’s Education City has been thriving for the last ten years and many famous universities opened a campus there. Qataris now have the opportunity to learn and train within the world’s best curriculums, such as those proposed by Georgetown University, Carnegie-Mellon University, University College London and HEC Paris. Such a higher education system, by all the odds, contributes to Qatar’s interest and permeability to technology.

Furthermore, it is no accident that Qatar once started both valuing and relying on technology: this one clearly appeared to be the only solution in a view to overcome the limits set by the extreme environment the country is subject to. Qatar’s climate sometimes reaches 50° Celsius, its plains are regularly beaten by violent sandstorms and groundwater is depleting in the whole country at an estimated rate of 69 millions cubic meters per year, according to the FAO. In Qatar, harsh natural conditions are tamed with cutting edge devices, installations, plants and buildings. It is especially visible concerning water life cycle management.

Water in Qatar is a major issue. The country has to spend it thoroughly to be able to satisfy the increasing vital needs of its population: between 2004 and 2008, water demand in Qatar grew of 15% per year in average. At the same time, Qatar also has to spare huge amount of water to allow oil extraction industry to function: the main source of income of the State of Qatar is an unexpected and a greedy water consumer. In this regard, every spare drop becomes crucial.

To fulfill the need of both the population and the economy, Qatar has for instance championed desalination. The country has a total water desalination capacity of 1.5 million cubic meters per day. In this way, treated seawater provides Qatar with most of it drinking water and is essential to food security in the country. Being highly technological, desalination systems and facilities are raised in Qatar with the help of international water treatment specialists.

Quite noticeably, water treatment engineering companies such realized some of their most innovative works in Qatar and fulfilled the Emirate’s needs for high technology. Spanish company Tedagua gave an example of a contribution to Qatar’s infrastructure development. Part of the Anglo-Saxon Cobra group, Tedagua is a European actor in designing water treatment devices. In 2011, this company completed Abu Samra desalination plant which now produces 2,000 m3 of drinking water per day with the help of its filtering technology. Along with their interest for the challenges Qatar offers, such realizations confirm those companies’ ability to design specific solution to address unique needs.

In the last decade, Qatar has been seething with activities and innovation. The country in itself, given its environmental characteristics, is a challenge both for its inhabitants and engineers. For more than ten years now, Qatar has been active in developing its education system and mastering its territory and resources. In that scope, engineering companies from the all entire world have been elected as valuable partners with skills and science of the greatest precision. Leading engineering businesses’ interest in Qatar undoubtedly benefits the country by providing with top ranking services and know-how. Quite righteously now, the country can expect to become a technology-driven growth example to follow.

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Tommy G. Helfer